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George Lyman Kittredge 



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^*^ 'TU fw/A /w^ 



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^ i 

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This series of Scandinavian Classics b published 
by The American-Scandinavian Foundation in the 
belief that greater familiarity with the chief literary 
monuments of the North will help Americans to a 
better understanding of Scandinavians, and thus serve 
to stimulate their sympathetic cooperation to good ends 















Copyright, 1^14» by The American-Scandinavian Foundation 





\^WOV 6 1958 J 

D. B. Updike J The Merrymount Press, Boston, U. S, A, 


Tegnér presents the curious situation in literature 
of a writer who, although his chief work has been 
rendered a score of times into English, is still not 
widely known in England and America. This has 
been due partly to the rarity of most of the trans- 
lations. The first seven, for instance, had so limited 
a circulation that Muckleston, who made the eighth 
in 1862, did not know of the existence of any 
previous one when he sent his own manuscript 
to the press. The American-Scandinavian Founda- 
tion hopes through this volume to make Tegnér 
more easily accessible to those who cannot read him 
in the original. He is the one Swedish poet to whose 
works all his compatriots will at once accord a place 
among Scandinavian classics. 

The translation of the Frithiofs Saga here printed 
is that of the Rev. W. L. Blackley, Dublin, 1857. 
It was reprinted once before in this country, by 
Bayard Taylor, in 1867, — the first version of the 
Swedish work to appear in the United States. The 
Children of the Lord's Supper is from Longfellow's 
Ballads and Other Poems^ Cambridge, 1842. Both 
translations are faithful reproductions of their origi- 
nals. Blackley, however, disregards the feminine or 
double rhymes that occur so often in the Frithiofs 


Saga. He reproduces them only where he can do so 
without twisting the sense or forcing the expression. 
The Introduction that follows is the outcome of 
studies carried on under Professor W. H. Schofield 
at Harvard University. To him I owe great grati- 
tude for valuable suggestions and encouragement. 
Through his mediation and the kindness of Dr. 
H. W. L. Danaof ColumbiaUniversity,! have been 
able to consult freely Longfellow's Scandinavian 
books in the library of Craigie House, the poet's 
residence in Cambridge. I am also indebted to my 
brother, Dr. F. W. C. Lieder of Harvard, for gen- 
erous criticism, and for help in reading the manu- 
script and proofs. 

p. R. L. 

Cambridge, Massachusetts 
May 26, 1914 









XIII. balder's bale-fire 




























ESAIAS Tegnér was born November 13, 1782, at 
Kyrkerud in Wermland.* Both his mother and his fa- 
ther were children of preachers, whose parents, in turn, had 
been peasants. Thus Tegnér was virtually of the peasant 
class, — a fact of which he was never ashamed. His father's 
name, Esaias Lucasson, had been transformed at the gym- 
nasium, or preparatory school, to Esaias Tegnerus, because 
he came from Tegnaby (the village pf Tegna) in Småland. 
In the poet's own time, the surname was further changed 
to its present more aristocratic form. 

When Esaias was nine years old, his father died, leav- 
ing a widow and six children with scant means of support. 
A state official in the district. Assessor Branting, a friend 
of the family, offered to take Esaias, the youngest son, into 
his home. Branting gave him a position in the counting- 
house, but the boy had plenty of time to himself, which he 
devoted mainly to the study of poetry and history. Tegnér 
liked, above all, the old Icelandic sagas, and read frequently 
that of Frithiof the Bold, which was later to become the 
basis of his greatest poem. He went with the Assessor on 
frequent official trips through Wermland, thus becoming 
well acquainted with the beautiful scenery of his country, 
which he so often describes. 

Branting, being impressed by the future poet's keenness 
of perception and eagerness for knowledge, arranged that he 
should study under an elder brother, Lars Gustaf Tegnér, 

*The biographical facts in this Introduction are taken mainly from the val- 
uable essays on Tegnér by Brändes and by Boyesen. The standard biography 
of the poet is by his son-in-law, C. W. Bottiger, teckning af Tegnérs Lefnad^ 
Stockholm, 1847. 


a tutor to several neighboring families. For more than a 
year Esaias accompanied his brother on his rounds; with 
the irregular teaching that he thus received, he learned 
Latin, Greek, and French. He taught himself English by 
reading Macpherson's Ossian^ which was then at the height 
of its popularity in Sweden. Finally, Lars Gustaf accepted 
a position as tutor to the seven children of Myhrman, a 
prosperous iron-manufacturer, on the condition that Esaias 
should be allowed to go with him. Here Tegnér led a happy 
existence, with pleasantcompanions, studying diligently and 
reading extensively. 

Two years later, in 1799, he and three of Myhrman's 
sons, one of whom was to be his room-mate, entered the 
University of Lund. Branting and Myhrman paid his ex- 
penses. In 1802 he was crowned with the laurel wreath as 
the foremost of twenty-four successful candidates for the 
degree of Master of Arts. He was almost expelled at this 
time for taking part in a hostile demonstration outside the 
house of the unpopular university rector, but was par- 
doned because of his scholastic standing. After his gradu- 
ation he received the combined positions of docent in aes- 
thetics, secretary to the philosophical faculty, and assistant 
university librarian. He spent his summer vacations with 
the Myhrmans at Ramen, where he paid special attentions 
to the daughter, Anna, whom he married in 1 806. 

The following years were the brightest in Tegner's life. 
He was strong, eager, energetic, an inspiring and beloved 
teacher. His joy in living was evident in everything he 
did. He had already begun to write. His literary develop- 
ment proceeded slowly, however, and few of his early 
works have much merit. In 1808, inspired by the national 
sorrow over the loss of Finland, he wrote his first success- 


ful poem, his War-Song for the Scanian Reserves^ a stir- 
ring dithyramb which gained him nation-wide popular- 
ity. In 1810 he was made lecturer in Greek at Lund, and 
the next year he followed up his War-Song with another 
patriotic poem, Svea^ which won the coveted prize of the 
Swedish Academy. In the same year arose the Götiska 
Förbundet, or Gothic League, an organization of zealous 
young men of letters, who took patriotic pride in the study 
of Old Norse literature and culture, in opposition to those 
writers, the " Phosphorists," who looked to France for in- 
spiration. Tegnér soon became head of the club, and, with 
other notable members, like Geijer, Afzelius, and Nican- 
der, made its power felt in literature. The following year 
he was appointed professor of Greek at Lund and pastor 
of Stafvie and Lackalänge, two neighboring towns. This 
was not a strange combination of offices, for it was not 
then unusual in Sweden to give a professor ecclesiasti- 
cal preferment if he could discharge the attendant duties 
without absenting himself from the university. Tegnér 
never regarded his posts as sinecures, and strove to be a 
true friend of the peasants in his parishes. In 181 9 he was 
elected a member of the Swedish Academy. In 1820 he 
wrote his famous Nattvardsbarnen {^Children of the Lord^s 
Supper) and started Frtthiofs Saga, The first nine cantos 
of the latter appeared in the periodical Iduna^ the official 
publication of the Gothic League, and won immediate 
applause. Meanwhile Tegnér had composed numerous 
brief lyrics, and in 1822 published Axel^ sl patriotic poem 
based on events in the Russian war, and five more cantos 
of Frtthiofs Saga. In 1825 the entire Saga was issued. 
Throughout Europe he was now acclaimed by critics, 
Goethe among them, as a great poet. In his own country 


he was further rewarded by the appointment to the bish- 
opric of Wexio. This year marked the climax of his life. 
Tegner's later illness and melancholy may be passed 
over briefly. While writing the final cantos of Frithiof^ he 
had fallen in love with the wife of the town councillor of 
Lund. The result was some inspired poetry, but endless 
pain. His duties as bishop became irksome, his health broke 
down, and in 1833 ^® complained of fiery throbbings in 
the brain. He journeyed to Carlsbad, where he found some 
relief. On his return through Germany he was received 
everywhere with great honor, but it brought' him little 
joy. In 1 840, while attending the Riksdag in Stockholm, 
of which he was a member ex officio^ he became suddenly 
insane. He was taken to a sanitarium in Schleswig, where 
he recovered. In the spring of 1841 he returned and took 
up his episcopal duties. Though he displayed his old cour- 
age and vigor, he was able to do little during these years. 
In 1843 ^^ suffered a stroke of paralysis, and died on No- 
vember 2, 1846. 

As a writer, Tegnér confined himself almost exclusively 
to poetry, which, like nearly all Swedish poetry, is lyric 
and markedly romantic. To present-day readers it seems 
overburdened with figures of speech, many of which are 
fine-spun ; but it was according to the temper of Tegner's 
age to be rhetorical in verse. Tegnér even went so far as 
to say in his address to the Swedish Academy, on the oc- 
casion of his election, that the object of poetry is to pre- 
sent, not ideas, but images. With the exception of a few 
poems written in the dark years of his life, his work, like 
Bjomson's, is optimistic and fresh,not mournful and brood- 
ing, like that of his more recent countryman, Strindberg. 


<<My golden harp shall never borrow 

Sad tones that I have brought to light ; 
The poet was not made for sorrow. 
The sky of song is ever bright."* 

Frithiofs Saga tells the sweet love story of the humbly 
born Frithiof for the noble Ingeborg. Though its material 
is ancient, its treatment is modern, to such an extent, in 
fact, that the Christian marriage ceremony is introduced. 
Frithiof, sentimental in spite of his heroic qualities, is 
nearer in spirit to Tegner's own time than to the feast- 
ing, fighting days of ninth-century Scandinavia, which are 
reflected rather in Björn, the hero's friend and counsellor. 
A characteristic feature of the poem is the use of a differ- 
ent metre in each of the twenty-four cantos, often with 
variations within the canto itself, to fit the scene in hand. 
In other words, though a narrative, the poem is lyric. Its 
form and its contents, in so far as it takes a saga story 
for its plot, was inspired, Tegnér frankly admitted, by 
Oehlenschlaeger's Helge. Both poems were the outgrowth 
of the renascence of interest in the saga age that was then 
manifest throughout Scandinavia. Frithiof y however, with 
its exuberant glee, soon eclipsed its gloomier model in pop- 
ularity and influence. 

It is distinctly a poem for the young, and Frithiof is 
a typical boy's hero. There is little doubt that cantos like 
"Frithiofs Wooing" and "FrithioPs Happiness" are re- 
miniscent of Tegner's own happy student days, when he 
spent his vacations with the Myhrmans. Only in "Frith- 
ioPs Return," written under the shadow of later love com- 
plications, is there the sadness of age. Frithiof here, like 
Tegnér himself at the time he wrote the canto, is a mis- 

*Froin The Song, English version by R.B.Anderson. 


anthrope and a misogynist, — wholly different from the 
Frithiof who resolves to win his beloved, in spite of her 
brother's opposition, by courage and self-reliance. In the 
early pages the hero never doubts of his future happi- 

Frithiof is not a character to be analyzed like Faust or 
Hamlet. Tegnér does not seem to have fashioned his poem, 
except perhaps in " FrithioPs Return," to mean more than 
meets the ear. Its greatness lies in its intense emotion, its 
vividness of imagination, and its artistic beauty, rather than 
in the profundity of its thoughts. 

The other two poems of Tegnér that are generally 
grouped with Frithiof s Saga are -^;if^/and Nattvardsbarnen. 
Axel^ an excellent piece, though somewhat fantastic in plot, 
reveals, like Svea^ Tegner's patriotic side. The Nattvards- 
barnen shows the sincerity and depth of his appreciation 
of Swedish peasant life. The characteristics of both works 
are essentially those of Frithiof. As an example of Tegnér*s 
later style may be mentioned his Mjeltsjukan {Ode to Mel- 
ancholy\^^QVi<t of the most despairing poems," says Brändes, 
"ofall literature." 

Tegner's writings have the individual note that we ex- 
pect in a man of power. His short pieces have unquestion- 
ably "the lyric cry," his narratives are full of action, his 
war-songs beat with patriotism, and the love scenes in his 
longer poems, despite the sentimentality of the age and 
country in which they were written, still make a strong 
appeal. Whether or not critics agree with him in valuing 
imagery above thought in poetry, they can but acknowledge 
that in revealing sensuous beauty in verses of great melody 
Tegnér shows nothing less than genius. 


For Americans Tegnér has peculiar interest because of his 
relations with Longfellow. Longfellow, it is well known, 
spent the summer of 1835 in Sweden, studying the Swed- 
ish language and literature. On his return to the United 
States he published an enthusiastic essay on Frithiofs Saga 
in The North American Review for July, 1 83 7, giving as an 
introduction a bright picture of Swedish life as he had seen 
it and as it is reflected in Frithiof. This sketch, though 
at first it seems irrelevant, is a fitting prelude, for it puts 
the reader unacquainted with Scandinavia in the proper 
mood to understand and appreciate the poem. The body of 
the essay consists of a spirited retelling of the story, with 
translations, in the original metres, of the more significant 

Longfellow evidently sent a copy of his article to Teg- 
nér, for the latter wrote:* 

" Bokedal, near Gothcborg, 
Jvly 10, 1841. 

Three years ago — when I was here at Bokedal visiting 
Wyk and his beautiful wife, the most beautiful woman in 
Sweden — I received the letterand fragmentary translation 
of Frithiof with which the Herr Professor honored me. 
Professional duties, the Riksdag, recently adjourned, and 
above all a severe nervous illness, have prevented my ex- 
pressing my thanks as I ought for all this. Without exactly 
setting the highest value on public opinion, either in or out 
of my own country, and taking the Horatian malignum sper- 
nere vulgus for my motto, I rejoice, of course, to find my 
poems reproduced in so admirable a manner, and particu- 
larly for a nation which I value. It has always been my con- 

♦ From the English translation of the letter printed in Samuel Longfellow's 
Life of Htnry Wadsworth Longfellow^ I, 394 ff. 


viction that English is ofall languages the one which is best 
adapted to translation from the Swedish; for the English 
love, as we do, to concentrate expression, either thought or 
figure, within the briefest possible space; to flash a short 
but sharp sword : whereas the German prefers long, drag- 
ging sentences, and likes to encase his weapons in a scab- 
bard of hogskin. English, on the other hand, is a collection 
of laconisms, and the so much misunderstood Pope, with 
his keenly sharpened antitheses, has always appeared to 
me the true representative of the genius of the English 
language. Among the four or five translations of Frithiof 
which I have had occasion to see,* there is none as yet 
with which I have been fully satisfied, except the Herr Pro- 
fessor's. Where the translator has understood the mean- 
ing, which has not always been the case, the translation 
has often suffered from ignorance of technicalities or in- 
sufficient command over his own language. Lethman'sf 
is better in this respect. But above all I place the Herr Pro- 
fessor's both as regards understanding of the original and 
versification. The only fault I have to find with the transla- 
tion is that it is not complete ; and to this I take the plea- 
sure of calling the attention of the Herr Professor, so that 
I may be able to say that Frithiof \& well translated into at 
least one language. 

This winter I begin the publication of a collection of 
my writings in verse and prose. ... I shall send a copy 
of this to America as soon as it leaves the press, addressed 
to the Herr Professor, as a mark of my esteem and grati- 

*Whcn this letter was written, the following translations of Frithiof had 
already appeared : Strong's, 1833 ; Fryers, 1835 ; Latham's, 1838 ; Stephens's, 
1839; and possibly Baker's, 1841. There were also fragments in the period- 
icals and some extracts translated by George Borrow, 
•f-" Latham's" is undoubtedly meant. 


tude. The latter would be still farther increased should the 
Herr Professor think something in it worthy of translation. 
My edition of Frithiof accompanies this letter. 
With high regard and affection. 

The Herr Professor's humble servant, 

Es. Tegnér" 

Longfellow's review of Frithiof is of importance in itself 
because, so far as I have been able to find out, it is the 
first public notice in the United States, not only of Teg- 
nér, but of Scandinavian literature. Yet noteworthy as the 
review is in this connection, it has even more interest and 
value. Obviously, it shows how sincerely the American poet 
appreciated Tegnér. It also shows that the beginning of 
Longfellow's most popular and perhaps his greatest poem, 
Evangeline^\% fundamentally Scandinavian ; for when Long- 
fellow is describing the scenery, the customs, and the people 
of Acadia, he is simply describing Sweden. Since this fact 
has never before been noticed, sufficient data to establish 
its validity are here presented. 

Longfellow, according to his brother's statement,* never 
visited Acadia. After he became acquainted through Haw- 
thorne's friend, the Rev. H. L. Conolly, with the story of 
the lovers, separated when the British scattered the inhab- 
itants of Grand Pre in promiscuous exile, he consulted 
books for material. For Acadia, we are told, f he read only 
Haliburton's book on Nova Scotia, | which he found in 

* Samuel Longfellow, op, cit,, II, 71. •\Ibid,f II, 71. 

JT. C. HsilihviTton, u4n Historical and Statistical Account of Non/a Scotia^ Hali- 
fax, 1829, I, 170-173. — P. Morin came to the conclusion, after examining 
numerous works which he thought might contain origins for the Acadian 
scenes, that Haliburton was the main source for the first part of Evangeline, 
See his Sources de VCEwure de Henry Wadvworth Longfellow^ Paris, 191 3. 


the Harvard Library. In this work two and one-half pages 
are given to the description of the life of the Acadians. 
The following quotation is taken from the very copy of 
Haliburton that Longfellow in all probability used: 

^^ Hunting and* fishing, which had formerly been the 
delight of the Colony, and might have still supplied it with 
subsistence, had no farther attraction for a simple and quiet 
people, and gave way to agriculture, which had been es- 
tablished in the marshes and low lands, by repelling with 
dikes the sea and rivers which covered these plains. These 
grounds yielded fifty for one at first, and afterwards fifteen 
or twenty for one at least ; wheat and oats succeeded best 
in them, but they likewise produced rye, barley and maize. 
There were also potatoes in great plenty, the use of which 
was become common. At the same time these immense 
meadows were covered with numerous flocks. They com- 
puted as many as sixty thousand head of horned cattle; 
and most families had several horses, though the tillage 
was carried on by oxen. Their habitations, which were con- 
structed of wood, were extremely convenient, and furnished 
as neatly as substantial farmer's houses in Europe. They 
reared a great deal of poultry of all kinds, which made 
a variety in their food, at once wholesome and plentiful. 
Their ordinary drink was beer and cyder, to which they 
sometimes added rum. Their usual clothing was in general 
the produce of their own flax, or the fleeces of their own 
sheep; with these they made common linens and coarse 
cloths. If any of them had a desire for articles of greater 
luxury, they procured them from Annapolis or Louisburg, 
and gave in exchange corn, cattle or furs. [Here follows 
a short passage, unimportant for us, stating that they used 
no paper currency and little silver or gold.] Their man- 


ners were of course extremely simple. There was seldom 
a cause, either civil or criminal, of importance enough to 
be carried before the Court of Judication, established at 
Annapolis. Whatever little differences arose from time to 
time among them, were amicably adjusted by their elders. 
All their public acts were drawn by their pastors, who had 
likewise the keeping of their wills; for which, and their 
religious services, the inhabitants paid a twenty-seventh 
part of their harvest, which was always sufficient to afford 
more means than there were objects of generosity. 

"Real misery was wholly unknown, and benevolence 
anticipated the demands of poverty. Every misfortune was 
relieved as it were before it could be felt, without ostenta- 
tion on the one hand, and without meanness on the other. 
It was, in short, a society of brethren; every individual 
of which was equally ready to give, and to receive, what 
he thought the common right of mankind. So perfect a har- 
mony naturally prevented all those connexions of gallantry, 
which are so often fatal to the peace of families. This evil 
was prevented by early marriages, for no one passed his 
youth in a state of celibacy. As soon as a young man ar- 
rived to the proper age, the community built him a house, 
broke up the lands about it, and supplied him with all the 
necessaries of life for a twelvemonth. There he received 
the partner whom he had chosen, and who brought him 
her portion in flocks. This new family grew and prospered 
like the others. In 1775, all together made a population of 
eighteen thousand souls. Such is the picture of these people, 
as drawn by the Abbe Reynal. By many, it is thought to 
represent a state of social happiness, totally inconsistent 
with the frailties and passions of human nature ; and that it 
is worthy rather of the poet than the historian. In describ- 


ing a scene of rural felicity like this, it is not improbable 
that his narrative partakes of the warmth of feeling for 
which he was remarkable; but it comes much nearer the 
truth than is generally imagined." 

This account was all that Longfellow knew of actual 
life in Acadia. The poet evidently took material from it for 
the beginning of Evangeline. But he needed more facts, 
and proceeded to draw on his own experience. Though 
brief, Haliburton's description was sufficient to suggest 
what sort of a life the people there led, and Longfellow 
could scarcely help noting the similarity between it and 
that of peaceful Sweden, with which he was acquainted 
from actual observation as well as books. When, accord- 
ingly, he began to present Acadian life and scenery in his 
poem, he copied — consciously or unconsciously — peasant 
life as he knew it in Sweden. 

The truth of this statement is manifest from the follow- 
ing parallel passages taken from the review of Frithiof^nd 
from Evangeline. These extracts need no comment beyond 
the remark that they are not meant in every case to show 
a close verbal likeness. The similarity of ideas is evident. 

In the review Longfellow writes: "Almost primeval 
simplicity reigns over this Northern land, — almost prime- 
val solitude and stillness. You pass out from the gate of the 
city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes to a wild, wood- 
land landscape. Around you are forests of fir. Overhead 
hang the long fan-like branches trailing with moss." What 
is this in essence but the opening lines of Evangeline? 

''This b the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the 


Stand like Druids of eld^ with voices sad and prophetic. 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their 

In the review, still describing the forest, he adds: "On a 
wooden bridge you cross a little stream. Anon you come 
forth into a pleasant and sunny land of farms." Perhaps 
Longfellow was thinking of this stream when in Evan- 
geline (1. lo) he described the Acadian farmers as 

** Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the wood- 

In the review he says: "The houses in the villages are all 
built of hewn timber." So likewise in Evangeline (Part I, 
i, 1. 14): 

** Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of 

Regarding Swedish hospitality, we read in the review: 
^' In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants 
take turns in receiving travellers. The thrifty housewife 
shows you into the best chamber." It is not far from this 
to Evangeline (Part I, iv, 11. 15-17): 

** Every house was an inn, where all were welcomed and 
feasted. ' ' 

Sunday in Sweden made a deep impression upon Long- 
fellow. In the review he remarks: "If it be Sunday, the 
peasants sit on the church steps and con their psalm-books. 
Others are coming down the road with their beloved pas- 
tor, who talks to them of holy things from beneath his 
broad-brimmed hat." Very similar is the picture in Evan- 
geline (Part I, i, 11. 18-27): 


<* There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly 
the sunset 

Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chim- 

Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps and in 

Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the 

Paused in their play to kiss the hand he extended to bless 

Reverend walked he among them ; and up rose matrons and 

Hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate wel- 


And again about Sunday in the review ; "The women carry 
psalm-books in their hands, wrapped in silk handker- 
chiefs." The young men "are busy counting the plaits in 
the kirtles of the peasant-girls." Evangeline is not much 
different from these Swedish girls (^Evangeline^ Part I, i, 
11. 57. S8): 

" Down the long street she passed, with her chaplet of beads 
and her missal. 
Wearing her Norman cap, and her kirtle of blue, and the 

Both in the description of Sweden and in Evangeline (Part 
I, i, 11. 102, 103) the village pastor is at once priest and 
leader, ^^He is their patriarch, and, like Melchisedek, both 
priest and king," says Longfellow in the review. 

"and Father Felician, 
Priest and pedagogue both in the village," 

he reechoes in Evangeline^ where he writes (Part I, i, U. 


** Under the sycamore- tree were hives overhung by a pent- 

Such as the traveller sees in regions remote by the road- 

Built o'er a box for the poor, or the blessed image of 

What roadside he was thinking of is shown by the state- 
ment in the review: "Near the churchyard gate stands a 
poor-box, fastened to a post by iron bands, and secured by 
a padlock, with a sloping roof to keep ofF the rain." 

Note, too, the general likeness, not only of metre but 
also of description, between the following translation by 
Longfellow from the Frithiof*s Saga: 

''Three miles extended around the fields of the homestead, 

on three sides 
Valleys and mountains and hills, but on the fourth side was 

the ocean. 
Birch woods crowned the summits, but down the slope 

of the hillside 
Flourished the golden com, and man-high was waving the 


and the beginning of Evangeline (Part I, i, 11. 1-9): 

''In the Acadian land, on the shores of the Basin of Minas, 
Distant, secluded, still, the little village of Grand- Pre 
Lay in the fruitful valley. Vast meadows stretched to the 

Giving the village its name, and pasture to flocks without 


.. ....... 

West and south there were fields of flax, and orchards and 

Spreading afar and unfenced o'er the plain." 

These are only the more striking points of similarity. More 


incidents in Evangeline could easily be cited which might 
well have a Scandinavian origin, — the brewing and drink- 
ing of ale (mentioned several times), the game of draughts, 
the praise of the blacksmith's craft, the sledding, and so on. 
The description of the outdoor betrothal feast alone would 
suggest Scandinavia to one who has read of similar scenes. 
To heap up these lesser parallels would only cloud the 
issue. It seems clear that Swedish life and scenery were in 
Longfellow's memory when he composed the beginning of 

Four years after the poet had written his important 
review of Frifhiof^ he began the translation of the Natu 
vardsbarnen in the original metre, the hexameter. His friend 
Samuel Ward, who had sent him a copy of the poem, had 
urged him to translate this work. " How strange ! " Long- 
fellow writes him, October 24, 1841, "while you are urg- 
ing me to translate Nattvardsbarnen comes a letter [the 
one quoted above] from Bishop Tegnér himself, saying 
that of all the translations he has seen of Frithio/\my frag- 
ments are the only attempts ^ that have fully satisfied him.' 
. . . After this kind letter, can I do less than over-set the 
Nattvardsbarnen?" In a postscript Longfellow remarked: 
"This evening I have added twenty-six lines to the nine 
I translated for you." * 

The copy of Tegnér that Longfellow used in his trans- 
lations is still preserved in Craigie House. On the inside of 
the cover is pasted Tegner's autograph, probably cut from 
a letter. Underneath is Longfellow's own simple book- 
plate, and on the opposite fly-leaf the signature " Henry 
W. Longfellow, 1835." Evidently, the copy was bought 

* Samuel Longfellow, o/>. r/>., I, 401 fH 


by Longfellow while he was in Sweden. The pages of the 
important poems of Tegnér, Frithiofs Saga^ Axel^ Svea^ 
and Nattvardsbarnen^ have enough pencillings in the mar- 
gins to show that Longfellow read them carefully in the 
original. The Nattvardsbarnen is especially marked up. 
On the first page of the poem he has written in pencil, 
"Dates of Translation, Oct. 27, 1841," and beneath, in 
the margin at the end of the ninth line, "Oct. 28." Then 
the following uninterrupted stages in the translating are 
noted in pencil: at the end of the thirty-fifth line, "Oct. 
29," twenty-five lines more and the date " Oct. 30," ten 
lines more "Oct. 3 1 ," thirty-five lines farther "Nov. i," 
then seven lines and "Nov. 2," seventy lines "Nov. 3, 
forty-three lines "Nov. 4," seventy-five lines "Nov. 5, 
with the final fifty-one lines for November 6. On the last 
day he wrote to Ward : " It is Saturday night, and eight by 
the village clock. I have just finished the translation of the 
* Children of the Lord's Supper;' and with the very ink 
that wrote the last words of it, I commence this letter to 
you. . . . The poem is indeed very beautiful ; and in parts 
so touching that more than once in translating it I was 
blinded with tears. Perhaps my weakness makes the poem 
strong. You shall soon judge ; for, as I told you in my last, 
this poem goes into the forthcoming volume." In spite of 
his excellent translation and his success in handling the 
difficult new metre, the hexameter, Longfellow was at- 
tacked with a sort of stage fright while the translation was 
in press ; but he was prevailed upon by Ward not to recall 
the sheets, and the poem appeared in the first edition of 
Ballads and Other Poems. 

In 1845, four years later, Longfellow composed Evan- 
geline. Immediately the remark was passed among critics, 


especially in Germany, that the poem owed its origin to 
Hermann und Dorothea^ — somewhat in story, but espe- 
cially in metre. This, it seems, has been the common opin- 
ion ever since. The part of the theory concerning the story 
is untenable, because only in those episodes which we 
know Longfellow got from Hawthorne's friend is there 
any similarity to Hermann und Dorothea. The same gen- 
eral likeness exists between Evangeline and Frithiof*s Saga; 
yet there would be no foundation for saying that Long- 
fellow derived his plot from the latter. As to the source 
of the metre, it is impossible to be dogmatic, for Long- 
fellow knew well the hexameters of Homer, Virgil, Chap- 
man, Goethe, and others. But when one reflects that of 
the three poems in hexameters which Longfellow wrote 
before he began Evangeline^ the first was an extract from 
Frithiof and the second a translation of the Nattvards- 
barnen^ one cannot help concluding that Tegnér above 
all others influenced Longfellow in the metre of Evange- 

Tegnér died while Evangeline was being written. Long- 
fellow paused in his work to compose a death-song or 
drapa in honor of the older poet. One of the stanzas in 
it is here specially worthy of note: 

*After the above pages had been written, I came across the following re- 
marks in Edmund Gosse's essay on Runeberg {Northern Sttuiiesy Camelot Se- 
ries, London, 1890, p. 143) : ** Between Tegnér and Runeberg the natural link 
is wanting. This link properly consists, it appears to me, in Longfellow, who is 
an anomaly in American literature, but who has the full character of a Swedish 
poet, and who, had he been born in Sweden, would have completed exactly 
enough the chain of style that ought to unite the idealism of Tegncr to the 
realism of Runeberg. The poem of Evangeline has really no place in Anglo- 
Saxon poetry ; in Swedish it would accurately express a stage in the progress 
of literature which is now unfilled." This is only a general impression, but it 
is that of an English critic who knew Swedish literature thoroughly. 


'*So perish the old Gods ! 
But out of the sea of Time 
Rises a new land of song^ 
Fairer than the old. 
Over its meadows green 
Walk the young bards and sing.'* 

This might serve as the text of a discourse on comparative 
literature; it indicates the significance of such international 
relationships as that of Longfellow and Tegnér. 






THE Children of the Lord*s Supper^ from the Swedish 
of Bishop Tegnér, enjoys no inconsiderable reputa- 
tion in the North of Europe, and for its beauty and sim- 
plicity merits the attention of English readers. It is an Idyl, 
descriptive of scenes in a Swedish village; and belongs to 
the same class of poems, as the Luise of Voss and the Her- 
mann und Dorothea of Göthe. But the Swedish poet has 
been guided by a surer taste, than his German predeces- 
sors. His tone is pure and elevated ; and he rarely, if ever, 
mistakes what is trivial for what is simple. 

There is something patriarchal still lingering about rural 
life in Sweden, which renders it a fit theme for song. Al- 
most primeval simplicity reigns over that Northern land, 
— almost primeval solitude and stillness. You pass out from 
the gate of the city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes 
to a wild, woodland landscape. Around you are forests of 
fir. Over head hang the long, fan-like branches, trailing 
with moss, and heavy with red and blue cones. Under foot 
is a carpet of yellow leaves; and the air is warm and balmy. 
On a wooden bridge you cross a little silver stream; and 
anon come forth into a pleasant and sunny land of farms. 
Wooden fences divide the adjoining fields. Across the road 
are gates, which are opened by troops of children. The 
peasants take off their hats as you pass ; you sneeze, and 
they cry, " God bless you." The houses in the villages and 
smaller towns are all built of hewn timber, and for the most 
part painted red. The floors of the taverns are strewn with 
the fragrant tips of fir boughs. In many villages there are 
no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving trav- 
ellers. The thrifty housewife shows you into the best cham- 


ber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures 
from the Bible; and brings you her heavy silver spoons, 
— an heirloom, — to dip the curdled milk from the pan. 
You have oaten cakes baked some months before ; or bread 
with anise-seed and coriander in it, or perhaps a little pine 

Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses 
from the plough, and harnessed them to your carriage. Soli- 
tary travellers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. 
Most of them have pipes in their mouths, and hanging 
around their necks in front, a leather wallet, in which they 
carry tobacco, and the great bank notes of the country, as 
large as your two hands. You meet, also, groups of Dale- 
karlian peasant women, travelling homeward or town- 
ward in pursuit of work. They walk barefoot, carrying in 
their hands their shoes, which have high heels under the 
hollow of the foot, and soles of birch bark. 

Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the 
road-side, each in its own little garden of Gethsemane. In 
the parish register great events are doubtless recorded. Some 
old king was christened or buried in that church; and a 
little sexton, with a rusty key, shows you the baptismal 
font, or the coffin. In the church-yard are a few flowers, 
and much green grass ; and daily the shadow of the church 
spire, with its long tapering finger, counts the tombs, 
representing a dial-plate of human life, on which the hours 
and minutes are the graves of men. The stones are flat, 
and large, and low, and perhaps sunken, like the roofs of 
old houses. On some are armorial bearings ; on others only 
the initials of the poor tenants, with a date, as on the roofs 
of Dutch cottages. They all sleep with their heads to the 
westward. Each held a lighted taper in his hand when he 


died; and in his coffin were placed his little heart-treasures, 
and a piece of money for his last journey. Babes that came 
lifeless into the world were carried in the arms of gray- 
haired old men to the only cradle they ever slept in ; and 
in the shroud of the dead mother were laid the little gar- 
ments of the child, that lived and died in her bosom. And 
over this scene the village pastor looks from his window 
in the stillness of midnight, and says in his heart, ^^ How 
quietly they rest, all the departed ! " 

Near the church-yard gate stands a poor-box, fastened 
to a post by iron bands, and secured by a padlock, with a 
sloping wooden roof to keep off the rain. If it be Sunday, 
the peasants sit on the church steps and con their psalm- 
books. Others are coming down the road with their beloved 
pastor, who talks to them of holy things from beneath 
his broad-brimmed hat. He speaks of fields and harvests, 
and of the parable of the sower, that went forth to sow. 
He leads them to the Good Shepherd, and to the pleasant 
pastures of the spirit-land. He is their patriarch, and, like 
Melchizedek, both priest and king, though he has no other 
throne than the church pulpit. The women carry psalm- 
books in their hands, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs, and 
listen devoutly to the good man's words. But the young 
men, like Gallio, care for none of these things. They are 
busy counting the plaits in the kirtles of the peasant girls, 
their number being an indication of the wearer's wealth. 
It may end in a wedding. 

I will endeavor to describe a village wedding in Swe- 
den. It shall be in summer time, that there may be flowers, 
and in a southern province, that the bride may be fair. 
The early song of the lark and of chanticleer are mingling 
in the clear morning air, and the sun, the heavenly bride- 


groom with golden locks, arises in the east, just as our 
earthly bridegroom with yellow hair, arises in the south. 
In the yard there is a sound of voices and trampling of 
hoofs, and horses are led forth and saddled. The steed 
that is to bear the bridegroom has a bunch of flowers upon 
his forehead, and a garland of corn-flowers around his neck. 
Friends from the neighboring farms come riding in, their 
blue cloaks streaming to the wind; and finally the happy 
bridegroom, with a whip in his hand, and a monstrous 
nosegay in the breast of his black jacket, comes forth from 
his chamber; and then to horse and away, towards the vil- 
lage where the bride already sits and waits. 

Foremost rides the Spokesman, followed by some half 
dozen village musicians. Next comes the bridegroom be- 
tween his two groomsmen, and then forty or fifty friends 
and wedding guests, half of them perhaps with pistols and 
guns in their hands. A kind of baggage-wagon brings up 
the rear, laden with food and drink for these merry pilgrims. 
At the entrance of every village stands a triumphal arch, 
adorned with flowers and ribands and evergreens; and as 
they pass beneath it the wedding guests fire a salute, and 
the whole procession stops. And straight from every pocket 
flies a black-jack, filled with punch or brandy. It is passed 
from hand to hand among the crowd; provisions are brought 
from the wagon, and after eating and drinking and hur- 
rahing, the procession moves forward again, and at length 
draws near the house of the bride. Four heralds ride for- 
ward to announce that a knight and his attendants are 
in the neighboring forest, and pray for hospitality. '* How 
many are you ? " asks the bride's father. " At least three hun- 
dred," is the answer; and to this the hosts replies, " Yes ; 
were you seven times as many, you should all be welcome; 


and in token thereof receive this cup." Whereupon each 
herald receives a can of ale; and soon after the whole jovial 
company comes storming into the farmer's yard, and, rid- 
ing round the May-pole, which stands in the centre, alights 
amid a grand salute and flourish of music. 

In the hall sits the bride, with a crown upon her head 
and a tear in her eye, like the Virgin Mary in old church 
paintings. She is dressed in a red bodd ice and kirtle, with 
loose linen sleeves. There is a gilded belt around her waist ; 
and around her neck strings of golden beads, and a golden 
chain. On the crown rests a wreath of wild roses, and 
below it another of cypress. Loose over her shoulders falls 
her flaxen hair; and her blue innocent eyes are fixed upon 
the ground. O thou good soul ! thou hast hard hands, but 
a soft heart ! Thou art poor. The very ornaments thou 
wearest are not thine. They have been hired for this great 
day. Yet art thou rich; rich in health, rich in hope, rich in 
thy first, young, fervent love. The blessing of heaven be 
upon thee ! So thinks the parish priest, as he joins together 
the hands of bride and bridegroom, saying in deep, sol- 
emn tones, — " I give thee in marriage this damsel, to be thy 
wedded wife in all honor, and to share the half of thy bed, 
thy lock and key, and every third penny which you two 
may possess, or may inherit, and all the rights which Up- 
land's laws provide, and the holy king Erik gave." 

The dinner is now served, and the bride sits between 
the bridegroom and the priest. The Spokesman delivers an 
oration after the ancient custom of his fathers. He inter- 
lards it well with quotations from the Bible; and invites 
the Saviour to be present at this marriage feast, as he was 
at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. The table is not 
sparingly set forth. Each makes a long arm, and the feast 


goes cheerly on. Punch and brandy pass round between 
the courses, and here and there a pipe is smoked, while 
waiting for the next dish. They sit long at table; but, as 
all things must have an end, so must a Swedish dinner. 
Then the dance begins. It is led ofF by the bride and the 
priest, who perform a solemn minuet together. Not till after 
midnight comes the Last Dance. The girls form a ring 
around the bride, to keep her from the hands of the mar- 
ried women, who endeavor to break through the magic 
circle, and seize their new sister. After long struggling they 
succeed; and the crown is taken from her head and the 
jewels from her neck, and her boddice is unlaced and her 
kirtle taken off; and like a vestal virgin clad all in white she 
goes, but it is to her marriage chamber, not to her grave; 
and the wedding guests follow her with lighted candles in 
their hands. And this is a village bridal. 

Nor must I forget the suddenly changing seasons of the 
Northern clime. There is no long and lingering spring, 
unfolding leaf and blossom one by one; — no long and lin- 
gering autumn, pompous with many-colored leaves and the 
glow of Indian summers. But winter and summer are won- 
derful, and pass into each other. The quail has hardly ceased 
piping in the corn, when winter from the folds of trailing 
clouds sows broad-cast over the land snow, icicles, and rat- 
tling hail. The days wane apace. Ere long the sun hardly 
rises above the horizon, or does not rise at all. The moon 
and the stars shine through the day; only, at noon, they 
are pale and wan, and in the southern sky a red, fiery 
glow, as of sunset, burns along the horizon, and then goes 
out. And pleasantly under the silver moon, and under the 
silent, solemn stars, ring the steel-shoes of the skaters on 
the frozen sea, and voices, and- the sound of bells. 


And now the Northern Lights begin to burn, faintly at 
first, like sunbeams playing in the waters of the blue sea. 
Then a soft crimson glow tinges the heavens. There is a 
blush on the cheek of night. The colors come and go; and 
change from crimson to gold, from gold to crimson. The 
snow is stained with rosy light. Twofold from the zenith, 
east and west, flames a fiery sword; and a broad band 
passes athwart the heavens, like a summer sunset. Soft 
purple clouds come sailing over the sky, and through their 
vapory folds the winking stars shine white as silver. With 
such pomp as this is Merry Christmas ushered in, though 
only a single star heralded the first Christmas. And in 
memory of that day the Swedish peasants dance on straw ; 
and the peasant girls throw straws at the timbered roof 
of the hall, and for every one that sticks in a crack shall 
a groomsman come to their wedding. Merry Christmas in- 
deed ! For pious souls there shall be church songs and ser- 
mons, but for Swedish peasants, brandy and nut brown ale 
in wooden bowls ; and the great Yulecake crowned with a 
cheese, and garlanded with apples, and upholding a three- 
armed candlestick over the Christmas feast. They may tell 
tales, too, of Jöns Lundsbracka, and Lunkenfus, and the 
great Riddar Finke of Pingsdaga.* 

And now the glad, leafy mid-summer, full of blossoms 
and the song of nightingales, is come ! Saint John has taken 
the flowers and festival of heathen Balder; and in every 
village there is a May-pole fifty feet high, with wreaths 
and roses and ribands streaming in the wind, and a noisy 
weathercock on top, to tell the village whence the wind 
Cometh and whither it goeth. The sun does not set till ten 
o'clock at night; and the children are at play in the streets 

* Titles of Swedish popular tales. 


an hour later. The windows and doors are all open, and 
you may sit and read till midnight without a candle. O 
how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but 
a sunless yet unclouded day, descending upon earth with 
dews, and shadows, and refreshing coolness ! How beauti- 
ful the long, mild twilight, which like a silver clasp unites 
to-day with yesterday ! How beautiful the silent hour, when 
Morning and Evening thus sit tc^ther, hand in hand, be- 
neath the starless sky of midnight! From the church-tower 
in the public square the bell tolls the hour, with a soft, 
musical chime; and the watchman, whose watch-tower is 
the belfry, blows a blast in his horn, for each stroke of 
the hammer, and four times, to the four corners of the 
heavens, in a sonorous voice he chants, — 

*< Ho! watchman, ho! 
Twelve is the clock ! 
God keep our town 
From fire and brand 
And hostile hand! 
Twelve is the clock!** 

From his swallow's nest in the belfry he can see the sun 
all night long; and fiaurther north the priest stands at his 
door in the warm midnight, and lights his pipe with a com> 
mon burning glass. 

I trust that these remarks will not be deemed irrelevant 
to the poem, but will lead to a clearer understanding of it. 
The translation is literal, perhaps to a fault. In no instance 
have I done the author a wrong, by introducing into his 
work any supposed improvements or embellishments of 
my own. I have preserved even the measure; that inex- 
orable hexameter, in which, it must be confessed, the 


madoos of die En^idi Muse are noc unlike those of a 
prisoner danring to die music of his chains; and perhaps, 
as Dr. Johnson said of die dancing dog, **die wonder is 
not that she should do it so wdl, but that she should do it 


PENTECOST,dayof rejoicing,had come. Thechurch 
of the village 

Stood gleaming white in the morning's sheen. On the spire 
of the belfry. 

Tipped with a vane of metal, the friendly flames of the 

Glanced like the tongues of iire, beheld by Apostles afore- 

Clear was the heaven and blue, and May, with her cap 
crowned with roses. 

Stood in her holiday dress in the fields, and the wind and 
the brooklet 

Murmured gladness and peace, God's-peace! With lips 

Whispered the race of the flowers, and merry on balanc- 
ing branches 

Birds were singing their carol, a jubilant hymn to the 

Swept and clean was the church-yard. Adorned like a leaf- 
woven arbor 

Stood its old-fashioned gate; and within upon each cross 
of iron 

Hung was a sweet scented garland, new twined by the 
hands of affection. 

Even the dial, that stood on a fountain among the de- 

* Id the poem, as in the foreword, the spelling of the first edition has been 
retained; only a few obvious misprints have been corrected. The lines are 
here printed as they were originally written; in later editions the poet changed 
slightly about forty of the lines. The footnotes that follow are Longfellow's. [Ed.] 


(There full a hundred years had it stood,) was embellished 

with blossoms. 
Like to the patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the 

Who on his birth-day is crowned by children and children's 

So stood the ancient prophet, and mute with his pencil of 

Marked on the tablet of stone, and measured the swift- 
changing moment. 
While all around at his feet, an eternity slumbered in quiet. 
Also the church within was adorned, for this was the 

In which the young, their parents' hope, and the loved- 

ones of heaven, 
Should at the foot of the altar renew the vows of their 

Therefore each nook and corner was swept and cleaned, 

and the dust was 
Blown from the walls and ceiling, and from the oil-painted 

There stood the church like a garden; the Feast of the 

Leafy Pavilions* 
Saw we in living presentment. From noble arms on the 

church wall 
Grew forth a cluster of leaves, and the preacher's pulpit 

of oak-wood 
Budded once more anew, as aforetime the rod before Aaron. 
Wreathed thereon was the Bible with leaves, and the dove, 

washed with silver, 

* The Feast of the Tabernacles j in Swedish, LöJTyddokogtiden^ the Leaf-huts*- 


Under its canopy fastened, a necklace had on of wind- 

But in front of the choir, round the altar-piece painted by 

Crept a garland gigantic; and bright-curling tresses of 

Peeped, like the sun from a cloud, out of the shadowy 

Likewise the lustre of brass, new-polished, blinked from 
the ceiling. 

And for lights there were lilies of Pentecost set in the 

Loud rang the bells already; the thronging crowd was 

Far from valleys and hills, to list to the holy preaching. 
Hark! then roll forth at once the mighty tones from the 

Hover like voices from God, aloft like invisible spirits. 
Like as Elias in heaven, when he cast ofF from him his 

Even so cast ofF the soul its garments of earth ; and with 

one voice 
Chimed in the congregation, and sang an anthem immortal 
Of the sublime Wallin,t of David's harp in the Northland 
Tuned to the choral of Luther; the song on its powerful 

Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven, 

*The peasant-painter of Sweden. He i» known chiefly by his altar-pieces in 
the village churches. 

-f* A distinguished pulpit-orator and poet. He is particularly remarkable for the 
beauty and sublimity of his psalms. 


And every face did shine like the Holy One's face upon 

Lo! there entered then into the church the Reverend 

Father he hight and he was in the parish; a christianly 

Clothed from his head to his feet the old man of seventy 

Friendly was he to behold, and glad as the heralding angel 
Walked he among the crowds, but still a contemplative 

Lay on his forehead as clear, as on moss-covered grave- 
stone a sun-beam. 
As in his inspiration (an evening twilight that faintly 
Gleams in the human soul, even now, from the day of 

Th' Artist, the friend of heaven, imagines Saint John when 

in Patmos, 
Gray, with his eyes uplifted to heaven, so seemed then the 

old man; 
Such was the glance of his eye, and such were his tresses 

of silver. 
AH the congregation arose in the pews that were numbered. 
But with a cordial look, to the right and left hand, the old 

Nodding all hail and peace, disappeared in the innermost 


Simply and solemnly now proceeded the Christian ser- 
Singing and prayer, and at last an ardent discourse from 
the old man. 


Many a moving word and warning, that out of the heart 

Fell like the dew of the morning, like manna on those in 
the desert. 

Afterwards, when all was finished, the Teacher reentered 
the chancel. 

Followed therein by the young. On the right hand the 
boys had their places. 

Delicate figures, with close-curling hair and cheeks rosy- 

But on the left-hand of these, there stood the tremulous 

Tinged with the blushing light of the morning, the diffi- 
dent maidens,— 

Folding their hands in prayer, and their eyes cast down on 
the pavement. 

Now came, with question and answer, the catechism. In 
the beginning 

Answered the children with troubled and faltering voice, 
but the old man's 

Glances of kindness encouraged them soon, and the doc- 
trines eternal 

Flowed, like the waters of fountains, so clear from lips 

Whene'er the answer was closed, and as oft as they named 
the Redeemer, 

Lowly louted the boys, and lowly the maidens all cour- 

Friendly the Teacher stood, like an angel of light there 
among them. 

And to the children explained he the holy, the highest, in 
few words. 


Thorough, yet simple and clear, for sublimity always is 

Both in sermon and song, a child can seize on its meaning. 

Even as the green-growing bud is unfolded when Spring- 
tide approaches. 

Leaf by leaf is developed, and, warmed by the radiant sun- 

Blushes with purple and gold, till at last the perfected blos- 

Opens its odorous chalice, and rocks with its crown in the 

So was unfolded here the Christian lore of salvation. 

Line by line from the soul of childhood. The fathers and 

Stood behind them in tears, and were glad at each well- 
worded answer. 

Now went the old man up to the altar; — and straight- 
way transfigured 

(So did it seem unto me) was then the affectionate Teacher. 

Like the Lord's Prophet sublime, and awful as Death and 
as Judgment 

Stood he, the God-commissioned, the soul-searcher, earth- 
ward descending. 

Glances, sharp as a sword, into hearts, that to him were 

Shothe;his voice was deep, was low like thethunder afar off. 

So on a sudden transfigured he stood there, he spake and 
he questioned. 

"This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith the Apostles 


This is moreover the faith whereunto I baptized you, while 
still ye 

Lay on your mothers' breasts, and nearer the portals of 

Slumbering received you then the Holy Church in its 
bosom I 

Wakened from sleep are ye now, and the light in its ra- 
diant splendor 

Rains from the heaven downward; — to-day on the thresh- 
old of childhood 

Kindly she frees you again, to examine and make your 

For she knows naught of compulsion, only conviction de- 

This is the hour of your trial, the turning-point of exist- 

Seed for the coming days ; without revocation departeth 

Now from your lips the confession. Bethink ye, before 
ye make answer! 

Think not, O think not with guile to deceive the ques- 
tioning Teacher. 

Sharp is his eye to-day, and a curse ever rests upon false- 

Enter not with a lie on Life's journey; the multitude hears 

Brothers and sisters and parents, what dear upon earth is 
and holy 

Standeth before your sight as a witness; the Judge ever- 

Looks from the sun down upon you, and angels in waiting 
beside him 

Grave your confession in letters of iire, upon tablets eternal. 


Thus then, — believe ye in God, in the Father who this 
world created? 

Him who redeemed it, the Son, and the Spirit where both 
are united? 

Will je promise me here, (a holy promise!) to cherish 

God more than all things earthly, and every man as a 

Will ye promise me here, to confirm your faith by your 

Th' heavenly faith of affection ! to hope, to forgive, and to 

Be what it may your condition, and walk before God in 
uprightness ? 

Will ye promise me this before God and man?" — With 
a clear voice 

Answered the young men Yes ! and Yes ! with lips softly- 

Answered the maidens eke. Then dissolved from the brow 
of the Teacher 

Clouds with the thunders therein, and he spake on in 
accents more gentle, 

Soft as the evening's breath, as harps by Babylon's riv- 

" Hail, then, hail to you all ! To the heirdom of heaven be 
ye welcome! 

Children no more from this day, but by covenant brothers 
and sisters! 

Yet, — for what reason not children ? Of such is the king- 
dom of heaven. 

Here upon earth an assemblage of children, in heaven one 


Ruling them as his own household, — forgiving in turn 
and chastising, 

That is of human life a picture, as Scripture has taught 

Blessed are the pure before God ! Upon purity and upon 

Resteth the Christian Faith ^ she herself from on high is 

Strong as a man and pure as a child, is the sum of the 

Which the Godlike delivered, and on the cross suffered 
and died for. 

O ! as ye wander this day from childhood's sacred asylum 

Downward and ever downward, and deeper in Age's chill 

O ! how soon will ye come, — too soon ! — and long to turn 

Up to its hill-tops again, to the sun-illumined, where Judg- 

Stood like a father before you, and Pardon, clad like a 

Gave you her hand to kiss, and the loving heart was for- 

Life was a play and your hands grasped after the roses of 
heaven ! 

Seventy years have I lived already; the father eternal 

Gave to me gladness and care ; but the loveliest hours of 

When I have steadfastly gazed in their eyes, I have in- 
stantly known them. 

Known them all, all again; — they were my childhood's 


Therefore take from henceforth, as guides in the path of 

Prayer, with her eyes raised to heaven, and Innocence, 

bride of man's childhood. 
Innocence, child beloved, is a guest from the world of the 

Beautiful, and in her hand a lily; on life's roaring billows 
Swings she in safety, she heedeth them not, in the ship 

she is sleeping. 
Calmly she gazes around in the turmoil of men; in the 

Angek descend and minister unto her; she herself knoweth 
Naught of her glorious attendance; but follows faithful 

and humble, 
FoUows so long as she may her friend; O do not reject her. 
For she cometh from God and she holdeth the keys of the 

heavens. — 
Prayer is Innocence' friend ; and willingly flyeth incessant 
'Twixt the earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven. 
Son of Eternity, fettered in Time, and an exile, the Spirit 
Tugs at his chains evermore, and struggles like flames ever 

Still he recalls with emotion his father's manifold man- 
Thinks of the land of his fathers, where blossomed more 

freshly the flowers. 
Shone a more beautiful sun,and he played with the winged 

Then grows the earth too narrow, too close; and home- 
sick for heaven 
Longs the wanderer again ; and the Spirit's longings are 

worship ; 


Worship is called his most beautiful hour, and its tongue 
is entreaty. 

Ah ! when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us. 

Crushes to earth our hope, and, under the earth, in the 
grave-yard, — 

Then it is good to pray unto Godj for his sorrowing chil- 

Turns He ne'er from his door, but He heals and helps and 
consoles them. 

Yet is it better to pray when all things are prosperous 
with us. 

Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful Fortune 

Kneels down before the Eternal's throne ; and, with hands 

Praises thankful and moved the only giver of blessings. 

Or do ye know, ye children, one blessing that comes not 
from Heaven? 

What has mankind forsooth, the poor ! that it has not re- 
ceived ? 

Therefore, fall in the dust and pray! The seraphs ador- 

Cover with pinions six their face in the glory of Him who 

Hung his masonry pendant on naught, when the world He 

Earth declareth his might, and the firmament uttereth his 

Races blossom and die, and stars fall downward from 

Downward like withered leaves; at the last stroke of mid- 
night, millenniums 

Lay themselves down at his feet, and He sees them, but 
counts them as nothing. 


Who shall stand in his presence? The wrath of the Judge 
is terrific, 

Casting the insolent down at a glance. When He speaks in 
his anger 

Hillocks skip like the kid, and mountains leap like the roe- 

Yet, — why are ye afraid, ye children? This awful aven- 

Ah ! is a merciful God ! God's voice was not in the earth- 

Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering 

Love is the root of creation ; God's essence; worlds with- 
out number 

Lie in his bosom like children ; He made them for this pur- 
pose only. 

Only to love and to be loved again. He breathed forth his 

Into the slumbering dust, and upright standing, it laid its 

Hand on its heart, and felt it was warm with a fiame out 
of heaven. 

Quench, O quench not that flame! It is the breath of your 

Love is life, but hatred is death. Nor father, nor mother 

Loved you, as God has loved you; for 'twas that you may 
be happy 

Gave He his only son. When He bowed down his head in 
the death-hour 

Solemnized Love its triumph; the sacrifice then was com- 

Lo! then was rent on a sudden the veil of the temple, 


Earth and heaven apart, and the dead from their sepul' 
chres rising 

Whispered with pallid lips and low in the ears of each 

Th' answer, but dreamed of before, to creation's enigma, 
— Atonement ! 

Depths of Love are Atonement's depths, for Love is Atone- 

Therefore, child of mortality, love thou the merciful Father ; 

Wish what the Holy One wishes, and not from fear, but 
affection ; 

Fear is the virtue of slaves; but the heart that loveth is 

Perfect was before God, and perfect is Love, and Love 

Lovest thou God as thou oughtest, then lovest thou like- 
wise thy brethren; 

One is the sun in heaven, and one, only one, is Love also. 

Bears not each human figure the godlike stamp on his 
forehead ? 

Readest thou not in his face thine origin ? Is he not sail- 

Lost like thyself on an ocean unknown, and is he not 

By the same stars that guide thee? Why shouldst thou hate 
then thy brother? 

Hateth he thee, forgive! For 't is sweet to stammer one 

Of the Eternal's language; — on earth it is called Forgive- 
ness ! 

Knowest thou Him, who forgave, with the crown of thorns 
round his temples? 


Earnestly prayed for his foes, for his murderers? Say, dost 
thou know Him? 

Ah! thou confessest his name, so follow likewise his ex- 

Think of thy brother no ill, but throw a veil over his fail- 

Guide the erring aright; for the good, the heavenly shep- 

Took the lost lamb in his arms, and bore it back to its 

This is the fruit of love, and it is by its fruits that we 
know it. 

Love is the creature's welfare, with God j but Love among 

Is but an endless sigh! He longs, and endures, and stands 

Suffers and yet rejoices, and smiles with tears on his eye- 

Hope, — so is called upon earth, his recompense. — Hope, 
the befriending. 

Does what she can, for she points evermore up to heaven, 
and faithful 

Plunges her anchor's peak in the depths of the grave, and 
beneath it 

Paints a more beautiful world, a dim, but a sweet play of 
shadows ! 

Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering prom- 

Having naught else beside Hope. Then praise we our Fa- 
ther in heaven. 

Him, who has given us more; for to us has Hope been 


Groping no longer in night; she is Faith, she is living 

Faith is enlightened Hope; she is light, is the eye of affec- 


Dreams of the longing interprets, and carves their visions 
in marble. 

Faith is the sun of life; and her countenance shines like 
the Prophet's, 

For she has looked upon God; the heaven on its stable 

Draws she with chains down to earth, and the New Jeru- 
salem sinketh 

Splendid with portals twelve in golden vapors descend- 

There enraptured she wanders, and looks at the figures 

Fears not the winged crowd, in the midst of them all is 
her homestead. 

Therefore love and believe; for works will follow spon- 

Even as day does the sun ; the Right from the Good is an 

Love in a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more 

Animate Love and faith, as flowers are the animate spring- 

Works do follow us all unto God; there stand and bear 

Not what they seemed, — but what they were only. Blessed 
is he who 

Hears their confession secure; they are mute upon earth 
until death's hand 


Opens the mouth of the silent. Ye children, does Death 
e'er alarm you ? 

Death is the brother of Love, twin-brother is he, and is 

More austere to behold. With a kiss upon lips that are 

Takes he the soul and departs, and rocked in the arms of 

Places the ransomed child, new born. Tore the face of its 

Sounds of his coming already I hear, — see dimly his pin- 

Swart as the night, but with stars strewn upon them ! I fear 
not before him. 

Death is only release, and in mercy is mute. On his bosom 

Freer breathes, in its coolness, my breast ; and face to face 

Look I on God as He is, a sun unpolluted by vapors; 

Look on the light of the ages I loved, the spirits majes- 

Nobler, better than I; they stand by the throne all trans- 

Vested in white, and with harps of gold, and are singing 
an anthem. 

Writ in the climate of heaven, in the language spoken by 

You, in like manner, ye children beloved. He one day shall 
* Never forgets He the weary; — then welcome, ye loved 
ones hereafter! 

Meanwhile forget not the keeping of vows, forget not the 




Wander from holiness onward to holiness ; earth shall ye 

heed not; 
Earth is but dust and heaven is light ; I have pledged you 

to heaven. 
God of the Universe, hear me ! thou fountain of Love 

Hark to the voice of thy servant ! I send up my prayer to 

thy heaven! 
Let me hereafter not miss at thy throne one spirit of all 

Whom thou hast given me here ! I have loved them all like 

a father. 
May they bear witness for me, that I taught them the way 

of salvation. 
Faithful, so far as I knew of thy word; again may they 

know me. 
Fall on their Teacher's breast, and before thy face may 

I place them, 
Pure as they now are, but only more tried, and exclaim- 
ing with gladness. 
Father, lo ! I am here, and the children, whom thou hast 

given me!" 

Weeping he spake in these words ; and now at the beck 

of the old man 
Knee against knee they knitted a wreath round the altar's 

Kneeling he read then the prayers of the consecration, and 

With him the children read; at the close, with tremulous 

Asked he the peace of heaven, a benediction upon them. 


Now should have ended his task for the day ; the follow- 
ing Sunday 

Was for the young appointed to eat of the Lord's holy 

Sudden, as struck from the clouds, stood the Teacher si- 
lent and laid his 

Hand on his forehead, and cast his looks upward \ while 
thoughts high and holy 

Flew through the midst of his soul, and his eyes glanced 
with wonderful brightness. 

^^On the next Sunday, who knows! perhaps I shall rest in 
the grave-yard! 

Some one perhaps of yourselves, a lily broken untimely. 

Bow down his head to the earth; why delay \} the hour is 

Warm is the heart; — I will so! for to-day grows the har- 
vest of heaven. 

What I began accomplish I now ; for what failing therein 

I, the old man, will answer to God and the reverend fa- 

Say to me only, ye children, ye denizens new-come in 

Are ye ready this day to eat of the bread of Atonement ? 

What it denoteth, that know ye full well, I have told it 
you often. 

Of the new covenant a symbol it is, of Atonement a 

Stablished between earth and heaven. Man by his sins and 

Far has wandered from God, from his essence. 'T was in 
the beginning 


Fast by the Tree of Knowledge he fell, and it hangs its 

crown o'er the 
Fall to this day; in the Thought is the Fall; in the Heart 

the Atonement. 
Infinite is the Fall, the Atonement infinite likewise. 
See! behind me, as far as the old man remembers, and 

Far as Hope in her flight can reach with her wearied pin- 


Sin and Atonement incessant go through the lifetime of 

Brought forth is sin full-grown ; but Atonement sleeps in 

our bosoms 
Still as the cradled babe; and dreams of heaven and of 

Cannot awake to sensation ; is like the tones in the harp's 

Spirits imprisoned, that wait evermore the deliverer's fin- 


Therefore, ye children beloved, descended the Prince of 

Woke the slumberer from sleep, and she stands now with 
eyes all resplendent. 

Bright as the vault of the sky, and battles with Sin and o'er- 
comes her. 

Downward to earth he came and transfigured, thence re- 

Not from the heart in like wise, for there he still lives in 
the Spirit, 

Loves and atones evermore. So long as Time is, is Atone- 

Therefore with reverence receive this day her visible token. 


Tokens are dead if the things do not live. The light ever- 

Unto the blind man is not, but is born of the eye that has 

Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hal- 

Lieth forgiveness enshrined; the intention alone of amend- 

Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things and re- 
moves all 

Sin and the guerdon of sin. Only Love with his arms wide 

Penitence weeping and praying; the Will that is tried, and 
whose gold flows 

Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by 

Breaketh Atonement's bread, and drinketh Atonement's 

But he who cometh up hither, unworthy, with hate in his 

Scoffing at men and at God, is guilty of Christ's blessed 

And the Redeemer's blood! To himself he eateth and 

Death and doom ! And from this, preserve us, thou heav- 
enly Father! 

Are ye ready, ye children, to eat of the bread of Atone- 
ment ? " 

Thus with emotion he asked, and together answered the 

Yes! with deep sobs interrupted. Then read he the due 


Read the Form of Communion, and in chimed the organ 

and anthem; 
O ! Holy Lamb of God, who takest away our transgres- 


Hear us ! give us thy peace ! have mercy, have mercy upon 

Th' old man, with trembling hand, and heavenly pearls 

on his eyelids. 
Filled now the chalice and paten, and dealt round the 

mystical symbols. 
O! then seemed it to me, as if God, with the broad eye 

of mid-day. 
Clearer looked in at the windows, and all the trees in the 

Bowed down their summits of green, and the grass on the 

graves 'gan to shiver. 
But in the children, (I noted it well; I knew it) there ran a 
Tremor of holy rapture along through their icy-cold mem- 
Decked like an altar before them, there stood the green 

earth, and above it 
Heaven opened itself, as of old before Stephen; there saw 

Radiant in glory the Father, and on his right hand the 

Under them hear they the clang of harpstrings, and angels 

from gold clouds 
Beckon to them like brothers, and fan with their pinions 

of purple. 

Closed was the Teacher's task, and with heaven in their 
hearts and their faces, 


Up rose the children all, and each bowed him, weeping 

full sorely. 
Downward to kiss that reverend hand, but all of them 

pressed he 
Moved to his bosom, and laid, with a prayer, his hands 

full of blessings. 
Now on the holy breast, and now on the innocent tresses» 









HOWEVER an excuse may be needed for the man- 
ner in which the following translation of Tegner's 
Frithiof-Saga is executed, none can well be required for 
the fact of its being undertaken. A work which, the glory 
of its native language, has in several cognate tongues be- 
come an honored classic, requires, we would fain hope, but 
to reach English readers to be appreciated as it deserves; 
that is, in so far as its intrinsic merit can be made appar- 
ent in an English version. 

Unfortunately for the fame of authors, especially of 
poetical ones, great difficulties stand in the way of an ex- 
act rendering of their ideas into other tongues from those 
in which they are originally expressed. Of such difficulties, 
and the many consequent faults of the present volume, 
none can be more conscious than its translator; but, not- 
withstanding, he intrusts its character to the fair judgment 
of impartial readers, in the hope that, where their acumen 
may detect deficiencies, their justice will lead them to con- 
sider the difficulties which beset the undertaking. 

It has been said of Sotheby, the translator of Wieland's 
Oberon^ that his translation far surpassed his original. The 
present writer has never dreamt of producing so peculiar 
a result in the handling of Tegner's poem. His aim has 
been a lower one — to reflect, not to heighten, a beautiful 
image; and having endeavored, as far as the nature of the 
languages allowed, to render word for word, and thought 
for thought, the work he took in hand, his purpose will be 
fully gained if, in the judgment of those expert in such mat- 
ters, he be found to have produced a translation, where he 
never presumed to attempt an embellishment. 


The tale of Frithiof forms one of the class of None 
Legends or Sagas Styled "heroic" by Professor Muller in 
the introduction to his Saga-iiilittbei (3 vols. 8vo, Co- 
penhagen, 1817—20). The period at which Frithiof lived 
is supposed to have been at the end of the thirteenth 
or beginning of the fourteenth century; but the critical 
grounds for such a supposition need not be here stated. 

For the benefit of those who like an ''Argument" pre- 
fixed to an epic, Miiller's abstract of the ancient poem 
will be found annexed, translated from the Danish. It will 
also serve to show in how very few particulars T^nér has 
allowed himself to vary from the tale the old Saga-men 
handed down. In some few parts of the modern version he 
hag used, with admirable judgment and effect, the struc- 
ture, and even the words, of the original j but, not content 
with amplifying and adorning a heathen tale, or depicting 
the manners of a long-departed age, he has surrounded hts 
woric with an atmosphere of high morality, and guarded it 
from every mean tendency, with a care worthy alike the 
author of The Children of the Lord's Supper^ and the char- 
acter of a Christian prelate. 

With reference to the metres employed, opinions will, 
of course, be divided; nor can a candid critic help admit- 
ting that, even at the sacrifice of some originality, sundry 
parts would sound better in different metres than those 
employed, Tcgner's plan has been a novel one, namely, 
to produce each of the twenty-four divisions of his work 
in a different measure; and, doubtless, nothing but adher- 
ence to such a design could have induced him to use a 
metre so uncouth as the iambic hexameter, in which the 
"Reconciliation," is confined. It almost seems 
se, footsore as she approaches the end of her 


journey, accommodates the cadence of her song to the 
limping of her gait. 

The present translator has not, however, thought him- 
self at liberty to vary from the form prescribed and adopted 
by his author, and has therefore adhered to the original 
metres, using only occasionally, and under the pressure of 
necessity, that greater liberty which the constitution of 
English verse, like that of English government, most wisely 
allows. That liberty is the more necessary and the more 
useful when a poem, as in this instance, partakes so much 
of the ballad nature, but it has been rarely and reluctantly 
used in this translation, and only when it became abso- 
lutely needful to sacrifice sound to sense. 

An Alphabetical Glossary, and some Notes explanatory 
of the superstitions and customs of ancient Scandinavia, 
referred to in the text, are subjoined. 

Frensham Parsonage 
Marchy 1857 



IN Sognefylke, near the holy grove of Balder, dwelt King Bele ; 
two sons had he, Helge and Halfdan, and moreover a daughter, 
Ingeborg the Fair. When he came to die, Bele warned his sons 
to keep up friendship with the mighty Frithiof, a son of his friend 
Thorsten, who was the son of Viking. But the young Kings re- 
fused scornfully FrithioPs wooing fbr their sister's hand, and so he 
vowed revenge, and that he never would come to their assistance. 

Soon after it came to pass that, when King Hring made war 
against them, they sent to ask aid from Frithiof : he was playing 
chess, and let himself not be one whit disturbed by their mes- 

Hring conquered, and made the brothers prombe Ingeborg* s 
hand to him. 

Meanwhile Frithiof had gone to see Ingeborg in B alder's tem- 
ple (which was a forbidden deed), and there he exchanged rings 
with her, fbr to him the love of Ingeborg was £zr weightier matter 
than the favor of Balder. 

To punish him for thb contempt of the shrine of Balder, the 
Kings laid upon Frithiof the task of going to the Faroes, and de- 
manding a tribute. So Frithiof, with his foster-brother, set sail in 
the ship EUida, the best in all the North ; a ship which all said 
could understand the voice of men. All in the midst of the storm 
Frithiof spoke of his Ingeborg. At last, when the good ship was 
near sinking, he hewed Ingeborg' s ring in pieces, that his men 
might not want gold when they went down to Rana's dwelling 
(she was goddess of the Sea) . Afterwards, when they had over- 
come a pair of storm-sprites, which rode on whales against them, 
the storm sank down, and they approached the Faroes, where Yarl 
Angantyr let him take the tribute fbr friendship's sake, and so he 

When he came back, he heard that the Kings had burned his 


dwelling, and that they were just then at the midsummer feast in 
the grove of Balder. Thither he went, and found few folk within; 
but Helge' s Queen sat there, wanning the image of the god, 
anointing it, and rubbing it with cloths. 

Frithiof flung the purse with the money in Helge' s face, so that 
his very teeth fell out, and then he was going away, when he 
beheld the ring he had given to Ingeborg on the arm of Helge' s 
Queen. He dragged it from her with such might that she fell upon 
the ground. Balder' s image was thrown into the fire, and the whole 
temple set in flame. King Helge sought to pursue Frithiof, but his 
ships had been made useless. Frithiof, just to show his strength, 
drew such a stroke with Ellida's oars (which were twelve ells long), 
that they both brake asunder. 

Now Frithiof remained an outcast : so he took to the ocean, and 
he slew the fierce sea-kings, but let the merchants fare in peace. 
And so, when he had gained great glory and wealth, he hied him 
back again to the North, and went, disguised as a salt-burner, to 
the palace of King Hring. Hring knew him, and, pitying his sad 
tale, commanded that he should be set in the most honorable seat. 
Queen Ingeborg spake but little with him. Once, when Hring 
and Ingeborg were driving over the ice, it broke beneath them; 
Frithiof came with speed, and dragged them up again, with sleigh 
and horse and all. Another day Frithiof and the King went out 
together into a wood, and the King laid him down to sleep ; then 
Frithiof drew his sword, and threw it away. Then the King told 
him how that he had known from the first evening who he was. 
Then Frithiof wished to go away, but Hring gave up Ingeborg 
to him, and made him, under the title of Earl, the guardian of his 
heir. Soon after Hring died ; then Frithiof married his bride, and 
remained King. Helge and Halfdan made war against him, but 
Frithiof slew Helge, and Halfdan had to pay scot to him as his lord. 



IN Hilding's home together grew 
Two plants beneath his fostering true; 
Two fairer never graced the North, 
In youth's green springtime budding forth. 

Strong as the oak, and towering high, 
Straight as a tall lance towards the sky. 
Its struggling, wind-tost summit blown. 
Like helmet-plumes, so grew the one. 

The other, like the fragile rose. 
When Winter, parting, melts the snows. 
And Spring's sweet breath bids flowers arise, 
Still in the bud unconscious lies. 

When o'er the earth the storms speed hoarse, 
The oak is seen to brave their force; 
When in the sky the spring-sun glows. 
Open the red lips of the rose. 

So grew they glad in childhood free. 
And Frithiof was the sapling tree; 
And the sweet valley-rose was there 
In Ingeborg, the young and fair. 

Saw'st thou the twain by light of day, 
In Freya's halls thou'dst seem to stray. 


Where wanders many a happy pair. 
With rosy wings and golden hair. 

But saw'st thou them in moonlit glade, 
Dancing beneath the forest shade. 
Thou 'dst think in airy dance t' have seen 
The fairy king and fairy queen. 

How light his heart, how glad his thought, 
When the first Runes to him were taught; 
So proud no king on earth was then. 
Since he could teach them her again. 

O'er the blue deep he loved to guide 
His boat, with Ingborgby his side; 
While she, as sailed they to and fro. 
Clapped gleefully her hands of snow. 

To gain for her, no wild bird's nest 
Too high for him was ever placed. 
Nor even could the eagle strong 
Protect from him her eggs or young. 

No stream, however fierce its flow. 
He feared to carry Ingborg through; 
Sweetly, when 'neath loud falls they passed. 
Her little white arms held him fast. 

The first fair flower that spring-time bred. 
The first wild berry, sweet and red. 
The first ripe ear of golden corn, 
Faithful and glad, to her were borne. 


But all too soon sweet childhood flew, 
And Frithiof to manhood grew ; 
While to the maid matured, his eye . 
Beamed full of love's intensity. 

Young Frithiof often in the field 
Pursued the chase, 'gainst danger steel'd; 
Proud without either sword or spear, 
Unarmed, to slay the grisly bear. 

He wrestled with him breast to breast. 
Nor scatheless of his prize possessed. 
He carried home the shaggy spoil. 
While Ingborg's smiles repaid his toil. 

For woman loves a manly deed. 
And beauty's praise is valor's meed; 
The one is suited for the other. 
As head and helmet matched together. 

Then, as the winter evenings sped. 
Beside the hearth he sat, and read 
Some lay of Odin's halls of light — 
Of gods and goddesses so bright. 

Then thought he: "Freya's golden hair, 
Like a ripe corn-field, waves in air; 
But Ingborg's tresses seem to hold 
Lily and rose in net of gold. 

^^Iduna's bosom, full and fair. 
Beats beneath silk, rich, green, and rare; 


But here, 'neath dearer silken folds. 
Its place a faiiy bosom holds. 

^^And, like the deep, clear, azure sky. 
Beams lovely Frigga's soft blue eye; 
But I know eyes whose gentle ray 
Eclipses spring-time's brightest day. 

^^And shines fair Gerda's cheek alone 
Like sparkling snow 'neath northern sun? 
I know of cheeks, whose ruddy glow 
A double dawn appears to show. 

" A loving heart I know of, too. 
Like gentle Nanna's, fond and true; 
Full worthily, O Balder, we 
Praise still, in song, her love for thee! 

^^ Gladly in death would I be laid. 
Lamented by a loving maid. 
As faithful and as true as she. 
Welcome were Hela's home to me." 

King Bele's child, of daring deeds 
Sate singing, while with busy threads 
She wove a tapestry of war. 
With groves, and fields, and waves afar. 

Upon the snowy woollen field 
Grew glories of a golden shield. 
Blood-red appeared the lances thrown. 
With silver all the breastplates shone. 


Still as she wove it, more and more 
The hero FrithioPs likeness bore; 
When from the frame she raised her head, 
She blushed with shame, but still was glad. 

And Frithiof cut, on birch-tree's stem. 
An I, an F, where'er he came; 
And merrily the letters, too, 
Like their young hearts, together grew. 

When riseth up the morning fair, 
The king of earth, with golden hair. 
And busy life begins to move. 
Each on the other thinks with love. 

When night with darkness fills the air. 
Mother of earth, with raven hair. 
And silent stars are all that move. 
Each on the other dreams with love. 

" O Earth, thou deck'st thyself each year 
With flowers in thy leaf-green hair; 
Give me the sweetest, that may shine 
In richest wreath for Frithiof mine!" 

"O Sea, thy gloomy halls possess 
Bright pearls in thousands numberless; 
Give me the fairest and most clear 
To weave a chain for Ingborg dear!" 

" O Peak of Odin's royal throne, 
Eye of the world, thou golden Sun, 


Did thy bright disc belong to me, 
A shield for Frithiof it should be!** 

^O Lamp in Odin's halls of bliss. 
Pale Moon, with gentle ray of peace. 
Thy fairest beams, if thou wert mine. 
To deck my Ingeboig should shine!" 

But Hilding said, ^ My foster-child. 
Check this young fondness, vain and wild; 
Unequal lots forbid the Nome, 
And royally is Ingborg bom. 

^^From Odin, in his starry home. 
Her ancestors descended come; 
Thou art but Thorsten's son; forbear. 
Since but the great should greatness share." 

'' My sires lie," Frithiof proudly said, 

^^In the dark valley of the dead; 
But the falling wood-king left to me. 
With his shaggy hide, his ancestry. 

"The free-born man, ne'er yieldeth he; 
The world belongeth to the free. 
What chance hath lost may chance repair. 
And Hope a royal crown may wear. 

"Full nobly born descendeth power 
From the great Thrudvang-dwelling Thor: 
He heeds not birth, but valor true, 
And mightily the sword can sue. 


" For my young bride I '11 combat now. 
Though thundering Thor should be my foe. 
Bloom glad, bloom true, my lily fair; 
He who would part us ill shall fare!" 



King Bele in his palace stood, on his sword he leaned. 
And by him Thorsten Vikingsson, his old, tried friend; 
The comrade who for eighty years his wars did share, 
Scarred as a monument was he, and white his hair. 

So stand two aged temples, midst mountains high. 
Both with age tottering, to ruin nigh; 
Yet words of wisdom still on the walls we see. 
And on the roof pictures of antiquity. 

"My day is setting fast," King Bele said; 

"Tasteless the mead; I feel the helmet's weight; 
Dim are my glazing eyes to mortal state, 
But Valhair dawns more near; I feel my fate. 


So my two sons, with thine, I Ve called to me. 
Together they 're united, as have been we ; 
Once more to warn the young birds am I fain. 
Ere from a dead man's tongue all words be vain. 


Then to the hall they entered in, as he had willed: 
The elder, Helge, whose dark brow with gloom was filled; 
His days in temples spent he, with spaemen hoary. 
And now from sacrificing came, his hands still gory. 

Then came the younger, Halfdan, with flaxen hair; 
His countenance was noble, but soft and fair; 
As if in sport a heavy falchion bearing, 
Like a young maid a warrior's armor wearing. 




And last in azure mantle came Frithiof tall, 
By a full head in stature outmeasuring them all; 
He stood between the brothers as glorious day 
Stands between rosy dawning and twilight gray. 

My children," quoth the King, "my day doth wane; 

Rule in fraternal peace, in union reign; 

For union, like the ring upon the spear. 

Makes strong what, wanting it, were worthless gear. 

Let Vigor be your country's sentinel. 
And blooming Peace within securely dwell; 
To shelter, not to harm, your weapons wield, 
And let your subjects' bulwark be your shield. 

"An unwise ruler devastates his land; 
All monarchs' might in people's strength must stand; 
Soon the green splendor of the tree is fled. 
If from the naked rock its roots be fed. 

" Four pillars to uphold it Heaven doth own. 
Kingdoms are based on one, on Law alone. 
Danger is near where might can sway the Ting; 
Right guards the land, and glorifies the King. 

"Helge! in Disarsal the gods do dwell; 
But not like snails, within a narrow shell. 
Far as the day can shine, or echo sound. 
Far as the thought can flee, the gods are found. 

"Oft err the entrails of the offered hawk; 
False, though deep-cut, is many a Runenbalk. 


But in the open heart and honest eye 
Odin hath written Runes that ne'er can lie. 

^ Helge! be not severe, be firm alone: 
By bending most the truest sword is known. 
Mercy adorns a king, as flowers a shield. 
More than all winter can one spring-day yield. 

^^A friendless man, however mighty he, 
Fadeth deserted, like a bark-stripped tree; 
With roots refreshed, though fierce the storm-winds strive, 
By friendship's stream thou may'st securely thrive. 

^^ Boast not thy father's fame, 't is his alone; 
A bow thou canst not bend is scarce thine own. 
What can a buried glory be to thee? 
By its own force the river gains the sea. 

^^ Gladness, O Halfdan, doth the wise adorn. 
But folly, most of all in kings, brings scorn ! 
Mix hops with honey, when thou mead wilt brew; 
Make thy sports sterner, and thy weapon too. 

"None is too learned, however wise he be. 
That many knowledge lack, too well know we; 
Despised the witless sitteth at the feast. 
The learned hath the ear of every guest. 

**To trusty comrade, or to friend in war. 
Be thy way near, although his home be far; 
Yet let thy foeman's house, where'er it lie. 
Be ever distant, though thou pass it by. 


*'Thy confidence to many shun to give, 
Full barns we lock; the empty, open leave; 
Choose one in whom to trust, more seek not thou; 
The world, O Halfdan, knows what three men know!" 

After the King rose Thorsten : thus spake he, — 
^^Odin alone to seek ill fitteth thee; 
We 've shared each hap, O King, our whole lives through. 
And death, I trust, we '11 share together too. 

••' Full many a warning Time hath whispered me. 
Son Frithiof, which I gladly give to thee; 
As on the tombstones high perch Odin's birds, 
So on the lips of age hang wisdom's words. 

'' Honor the gods ; for every good and harm 
Comes from above, like sunshine and like storm. 
Deep into hearts they see, and many mourn 
In lifelong sorrow for one short hour's scorn. 

^^ Honor the King! let one man rule with might. 
Day hath but one eye, many hath the night. 
Let not the better grudge against the best; 
The sword must have a hilt to hold it fast. 

" High strength is Heaven's gift, yet little prize 
It brings its owner, if he be not wise; 
A bear with twelve men's strength can one man kill, 
As shield 'gainst sword, set law against thy will. 

"The proud are feared by few, hated by all, 
And insolence, O Frithiof, brings a fall. 


Men, mighty once, I 've seen on crutches borne. 
And fortune changeth like storm-blasted corn. 

^^ Praise not the day before the night arrive, 
Mead till 't is drunk, or counsel till it thrive. 
Youth trusteth soon to many an idle word. 
Need proves a friend, as battle proves a sword. 

"Trust not to one night's ice, to spring-day snow. 
To serpent's slumber, or to maiden's vow; 
For heart of woman turneth like a wheel, 
And 'neath the snowy breast doth falsehood dwell. 

"Thyself must perish, all thou hast must fade: 
One thing alone on earth is deathless made. 
That is the dead man's glory: therefore thou 
Will what is right, and what is noble, do." 

So warned the graybeards in the royal hall. 

As later warned the Skald in Havamal; 

From mouth to mouth went words of wisdom round. 

Which, whispered still, through Northland's hills resound. 

Then both full many a hearty memory named 
Of their true friendship, in the Northland famed; 
How, faithful unto death, in joy or need. 
Like two clasped hands, together they had staid. 

"Sons! back to back our stand we ever made; 
So ever to each Nome a shield displayed; 
And now, we aged, to Valhalla haste. 
Oh ! with our sons may their sires' spirits rest ! " 


Much spake the King of Frithiof s valor good, 
His hero-might excelling royal blood; 
And Thorsten much of future fame to crown 
The Asa sons, who should the Northland own. 

" And if ye hold together, ye mighty three. 
Your conqueror the Northland ne'er shall see: 
For might, by lofty station firmly held. 
Is like the steel rim round a golden shield. 

"And my dear daughter, tender rose-bud, greet. 
In tranquil silence bred, as most is meet; 
Defend her; let the storm-wind ne'er have power 
To plant upon his crest my late-born flower. 

"Helge! on thee I lay a father's care; 
Guard, like a daughter dear, my Ingborg fair; 
Force breaks a noble soul, but mildness leads 
Both man and maid to good and noble deeds. 

"Now, children, lay us in two lofty graves 
Down by the sea-shore, near the deep blue waves: 
Their sounds shall to our souls be music sweet. 
Singing our dirge as on the strand they beat. 

"When round the hills the pale moonlight is thrown. 
And midnight dews fall on the Bauta-stone, 
We '11 sit, O Thorsten, in our rounded graves. 
And speak together o'er the gentle waves. 


"And now, ye sons beloved, fare ye well, 
We go to AUfather, in peace to dwell. 
As weary rivers long to reach the sea. 
With you may Frey and Thor and Odin be ! 




Now in their graves had been set King Bele and Thorstcn 

the aged, 
Where they themselves had desired ; uprose on each side of 

the deep bay 
Mounds high arched, like breasts that the valley of death 

Helge and Halfdan together, by old traditional usage. 
Ruled in the house of their sire; but Frithiof shared his 

with no one, 
And as an only son possessed the dwelling at Framnäs. 
Three leagues forth was his rule, on three sides round him 

Valley and mountain and wood ; and the sea was the fourth 

of his mearings. 
Birch forest crowned the tops of the hills, and where they 

Waved fields of rye as tall as a man, and golden-eared 

Many a fair smooth lake held a mirror of light to the moun- 
Picturing forth the forests, where elks with towering ant- 
Stalked with the gait of kings, and drank from rivulets 

And in the valleys around, far pastured abroad o'er the 

Herds with glittering hides, and udders that yearned for the 



Mingled with these, moved slowly about in flocks without 

Sheep with fleeces of snow, as float in the beautiful heavens 

Thick, white, feathery clouds at the gentle breathing of 

Twice twelve spirited steeds, like terrible winds in con- 

Pawed in the stalls impatient, and champ'd the growth of 
the meadows; 

Red silk shone in their manes, and their hoofs were flash- 
ing with steel shoes. 

But a house for itself was the banquet hall, fashioned in fir- 

Not five hundred, though told ten dozen to every hun- 

Filled that chamber so vast, when they gathered for Yule- 
tide carousing. 

Through the whole length of the hall shon^ forth the table 
of oak wood, 

Brighter than steel, and polished; the pillars twain of the 
high seat 

Stood on each side thereof; two gods deep carved out of 
elm wood: 

(Odin with glance of a king, and Frey with the sun on 
his forehead). 

Lately betwixt them sat on his bear-skin (this was as coal 

Scarlet red were the jaws, and the paws with silver be- 
shodden) : 

Thorsten still with his friends. Hospitality sitting with 


Oft, while sped the moon through the sky, the greybeard 

Wonders of far-lying lands, and of many a Vikinga voy- 
Wide on the eastern sea, o'er the western waves, and on 

The glance of the listeners silent hung on the lips of the 

speaker — 
Hung as a bee from a rose ; the Skald alone thought upon 

How, with his silver beard and tongue rune-written, he 

Under the leafy grove, and relateth wonders by Mimer's 
Ever-murmuring stream; himself a living relation. 
Now in the midst of the rush-strewn hall continual flam- 
Rose the fire from the mortared hearth ; through the open 

Heavenly friend-like stars looked into the banqueting 

Round on the wall from hooks of steel were hanging in 

Breast-plates and helmets together, while here and there 

from between them 
Flashed a sword, like a meteor seen in the dark nights of 

But more than helmet or sword the shields shone bright 

in the chamber. 
Clear as the orb of the sun, or the silvery disc of the pale 

Then, when a maiden went round the board and filled up 

the mead-horns. 


Downwards she cast her eyes, and blushed, and her fomi 
in the round shields 

Blushed like the maiden herself; this gladdened each ban- 
queting comrade. 

Rich was the house : wherever the eye could turn, there 
did meet it 

Cellars and chests well filled, and granaries heaped with 

Many a treasure, too, it contained, the booty of warfare : 

Golden, with deep-carved Runes, and silver wondrously 

Three things there were prized above all the rest of the 
riches : 

First of the three was the mighty sword, an heirloom an- 

Angurvadel, so was it named, and brother of Lightning; 

Far in the east it was forged, as ancient legends related. 

Tempered by toil of dwarfs : Björn Blaetand the first who 
had borne it. 

But Björn paid as a forfeit at once both his life and his 

Southward in Groninga-sund, when he fought with the 
powerful Vifell. 

Vifell was father to Viking. There dwelt then, feeble and 

At Ullaröker, a king with an only beautiful daughter. 

Lo ! there came from the depths of the woods a giant tre- 

Greater in height than stature of man, and hairy and cruel. 

Demanding a champion to fight, or else both daughter and 


No man stood forth to strive, nor could find a hard enough 

His skull of iron to wound, and therefore they named him 
the lernhos. 

Viking alone, who had just filled fifteen winters, withstood 

Fighting with trust in his arm and Angurvadel, with one 

Cleft he the terrible foe to the waist, and rescued the fair 

Viking left it to Thorsten, his son, and from Thorsten de- 

Came it to Frithiof at last. When he drew it the hall was 

As by a lightning-flash, or the dazzling gleam of the north- 

Golden thereof was the hilt j with verses the blade of it 

Wonderful, strange to the north, but known at the thresh- 
old of sunshine. 

Where their fathers had dwelt ere the Asen led them up 

Dull was the sheen of the Runes as long as was peace in 
the nation. 

But when Hildur began her sport, then glittered they 
blood-red — 

Red as the crest of a cock when he fighteth. Lost was the 

Who ever met that flaming sword in the midst of the 

Far was that sword renowned, and of swords the first in 
the Northland. 


Next in worth to the sword was an arm-ring, far and 

wide famous, 
Forged by the Vulcan of northern story, the halting Valun- 

Three marks was it in weight, of gold unmingled y-fash- 

ioned ; 
On it the heavens were wrought, and the towers of the 

twelve immortals 
(Figuring changing months, the Sun's dwellings called by 

the minstrels): 
Alfheim there might be seen, Frey's tower, and the sun in 

new vigor, 
As he begin neth to climb the heights of the heaven at 

Söquabäck too was there; in its hall sat Odin by Saga, 
Quaffing the wine from a golden shell, — that shell is the 

Colored with gold from the glow of the morn; and Saga 

is springtime 
Writ upon grassy fields with flowers instead of with letters. 
Balder appeared there too, as the sun of midsummer, glo- 
Shedding abundance around, and shining, the image of 

Beaming with light is Goodness, but all that is Evil is gloomy. 
Weary the sun groweth, mounting so high, and so grow- 

eth Goodness 
Faint on the dizzy height; so, sighing, sink they together 
Down to the realms of Hela, the land of shadows and 

Qlitner was pictured thereon, the palace of peace, where 



Holding the scales in his hand impartial, ruleth the au- 

Many such forms, whereby the progress of light was be- 

High in the vault of the sky and deep in the spirit of mortals. 

Stood, wrought by master-hand on the ring; and a cluster 
of rubies 

Crowned the circlet fair as the sun doth the arch of the 

Heirloom old in the race was the ring, its origin ancient 

(Though by the mother's side) reached up to mighty Val- 

Once had the gem been stolen away by plundering Sote; 

Widely he cruised through the sea of the north, but sud- 
denly vanished. 

Rumor at last was borne how on Britain's coast he had 

Himself, with treasure and ships, in a builded sepulchre 
lofty : 

Still there found he no rest, and his grave forever was 

Thorsten the rumor heard, with King Bele he mounted his 

Cleft through the foaming waves, and steered his course 
unto Britain. 

Wide as a temple-dome, or a lordly palace, deep-bedded 

Down in the dark green grass and turf, lay the sepulchre 

Light gleamed out therefrom ; through a chink in the pon- 
derous portal 

Glanced the comrades in; pitch-black within stood the 


Of Sote, with helm and anchor and mast; and high by the 

Sat there a terrible form; he was clad in a fiery mantle; 
Moodily glaring sat he, and scrubbed his blood-spotted 

Vainly; the stains remained, and all the wealth he had 

Round in the grave was heaped; the ring on his arm he 

was wearing. 
"Come," whispered Bele, "let's enter and fight with this 

terrible being. 
Two men against a fiery fiend." Half angry swore Thor- 

sten — 
"One against one our fathers fought, and alone will I 

Long contended the twain for the right of the perilous 

Which should essay it the first; till Bele, taking his hel- 
Shuffled for each within it a lot, and soon by the star- 
Thorsten discovered his own; so he smote on the door 

with his steel lance. 
Open flew bolt and bar; he descended. When any one asked 

What he had seen in the gloomy pit, he was silent, and 

Bele first heard a song,likethespellof witchcraft it sounded; 
Then rose a loud-clashing noise, like the crossing of 

weapons it sounded; 
Lastly, a terrible cry, which was hushed ; then out darted 



Ghastly, bewildered, disturbed; with awful Death he had 
battled ; 

Bearing, moreover, the ring. ** 'T was dear-bought," oft he 
^^ Since in my life, save the time that I won it, I ne'er was 

Far was that jewel renowned, and of jewels the first in the 

Ship Ellida, the last of the three, of its kind was a jewel : 

Viking (so say they), as homeward he hied him back once 
from battle. 

Coasting the shore, espied a man on a frail spar of drift- 

Carelessly tossing about ; he seemed with the waves to be 

Tall, and of powerful form, was the man ; his countenance 

Joyous, but changing, like to the ocean playing in the sun- 

Blue was his mantle, belted with gold, with coral adorned; 

Sea-green his hair, yet hoary his beard as the foam of the 

Hitherward Viking steered his snake to shelter the out- 

Took him perishing home to his house, and exercised kind- 

Yet when the host to a chamber would lead him, the guest 
laughed, exclaiming — 
^^ Good are the winds, and my vessel, thou seest, is not to 
be scorned; 

Five score leagues (at least, so I hope) shall I traverse ere 



Thanks for thy bidding, well 't was intended; would that 
some kindness 

I, in my turn, could offer, but my wealth lies in the ocean; 

Haply to-morrow from me thou may'st find some gift by 
the sea-side." 

Next day Viking stood by the sea, and lo ! as an osprey 

Flieth, quarry-pursuing, a ship sailed into the haven; 

No man upon it appeared; no pilot could be discovered; 

Yet it steered its winding way through breakers and quick- 

Like as if spirit-possessed; and when it entered the ha- 

Reefed were the sails by themselves, untouched by hand 
of a mortal; 

Down sank the anchor itself, and clung with its fluke to 
the bottom. 

Dumb stood Viking, and gazed; then sang the glad heav- 
ing billows — 

Aegir, protected, forgetteth no debt, and hath sent thee 
this dragon." 

Kingly, indeed, was the gift; the bended planking of oak- 

Not, as in others, joined, was by one growth banded to- 

Far spread her lengthy keel; her crest, like a serpent of 

High in the bows she reared ; her jaws were flaming with 
red gold. 

Sprinkled with yellow on blue was her beam; astern, at 
the rudder, 

Flapped she around her powerful tail, that glittered with 


Black were her pinions, bordered with red, and when they 

were bended, 
Vied she in speed with the loud-roaring blast, outstripping 

the eagle. 
Saw ye her filled with warriors armed, your eyes would 

have fancied 
Then to have seen a fortress at sea, or the tower of a 

great king. 
Far was that ship renowned, and of ships the first in the 


These things, and many more, from his sire did Frithiof 

Scarce in the northern land wais there found an heritage 

Save with the son of a king ; for the wealth of kings is the 

He was no son of a king, yet king-like, in sooth, was his 

Friendly, noble, and mild, with each day growing in glory. 
Comrades twelve were around him, gray-haired, princes 

in warfare, 
Thorsten's steel-breasted knights, with many a scar on 

their foreheads. 
Lowest of these on the warrior's bench sate also a stripling. 
Like to a rose in a withering bower; Björn was his title; 
Gay as a child, but brave as a man, and wise as an old man ; 
Frithiof s comrade from childhood; blood they had min- 
gled together 
(Fosterkin by northern use), and sworn to continue 
Sorrow and joy to share, and avenge the death of each 



Now, 'midst the crowd of comrades and guests who had 

come to the grave-feast, 
Frithiof, a sorrowing host, his eyes with tears overflowing. 
Drank (as our ancestors used) his father's memory, hearing 
Songs of Skalds resound to his praise, — a thundering 

Drapa, — 
Mounted his father's seat, now his, and silently sat him 
Down betwixt Odin and Frey ; that is Thor's place up in 




Loud soundeth the song in Frithiof's hall. 
The Skalds sing the fame of his ancestors all ; 
No joy do they bring 
To Frithiof, who heeds not the tales they sing. 

Again hath the earth donned her raiment of green, 

And vessels swim over the billows again; 

To the shadowy grove 

Hieth Frithiof, by moonlight, to dream of his love. 

Till lately he joined in the joys of his home. 
For Halfdan the merry he M bidden to come. 
And dark Helge, the King, 
And with them fair Ingborg persuaded to bring. 

He sat by her side, and her white hand he pressed. 
And the pressure returned made him happy and blest; 
And he hung in a trance 
Of unspeakable love on her favoring glance. 

And often they spake of each happier day, 

When the morning dew on their young lives lay, — 

Of childhood's hours. 

To noble minds a garden of flowers. 

They spake of each valley and forest dark, — 

Of their names deep-carved in the birchen-bark, — 

Of each ancient grave. 

Where the oaks grew tall in the dust of the brave. 


^ In the court of the King no such gladness hath smiled. 
For Helge is sullen, and Halfdan wild, 
And my brothers hear 
Naught but flattering song or covetous prayer. 

^^I have no one" (and here she blushed red as the rose) 
^^To whom I may speak of my sorrow and woes; 

The court of the King 

Far less joy than the valley of Hilding can bring. 

^^The doves which together we long ago reared 
By the hawks' fierce attack are all scattered and scared ; 
One pair alone 
Remains, of that last pair take thou the one. 

^^ For, doubtless, the bird to his mate will return : 
They even for love and for fondness can yearn; 
'Neath its wing bind for me. 
One loving word which unnoticed may be." 

So whispering sate they the livelong day. 

And were whispering still when the sun passed away. 

As the evening breeze 

Whispers in spring through the linden-trees. 

But now she is gone, and his joyous mood 
Is fled with her presence; the youthful blood 
Mounts to his cheek: 
He sighs and grieves, silent, unwilling to speak. 

And sadly he wrote of his grief by the dove. 
Which joyously sped on his message of love; 


But ah! to their woe, 

From his mate could no more be persuaded to go. 

But Björn this mourning could not bear, — 

He cried — "What makes our young eagle here 

So sad and moody? 

Hath his breast been struck, are his pinions bloody ? 

**What will'st thou? For here we can fear no need 
Of noble food, or of nut-brown mead? 
And the Skalds' long train 
Cease not the joyous, tuneful strain. 

" His pawing coursers impatient neigh ; 
His falcon wildly screams for prey. 

In the clouds alone 


Will Frithiof chase, by sorrowing overthrown. 

"Ellida hath no rest upon the wave. 
Early and late at anchor doth she chafe. 
EUida, be thou still; 
For strife and warfare is not Frithiof's will." 

At last sets Frithiof his dragon free ; 

The sails swell high, the waves cleaves she; 

And speedily brings 

Him over the sea to the court of the Kings. 

That day were they sitting on Bele's grave. 
And judgment before all the people they gave; 
Loud Frithiof cried, — 
Round hill and vale his voice echoed wide. 


"Fair Ingborg, ye monarchs, I love as my life. 
And your sister I ask of you now for my wife; 
This union, too. 
Was ever King Bele's purpose true. 

"In Hilding's home brought up we were. 
As young trees grow together fair; 
And our fates above 
Hath Freya woven in gold threads of love. 

"No King, no Yarl was my sire, I own; 
But long shall his name in song live on. 
The fame of our race 
Is witnessed in many a burial-place. 

"'Twere easy for me to win kingdom and land, 
But that better I cherish my native strand; 
Where with love I '11 watch o'er 
The court of the King and the hut of the poor. 

** We stand on the grave of great Bele; he hears 
Below us my word, which adjures you with prayers; 
For this boon from you 
With Frithiof your buried sire doth sue." 

Then rose King Helge, and cried with scorn, 
"Our sister was ne'er for a vassal born; 
A king's son alone 
Shall Valhalla's beautiful daughter own. 

"Go! style thyself first in the North in thy pride; 
Win maids with thy word, and win men with thy might 


But given to thee 

Our sister, of Odin's blood, never shall be. 

^^ Let the care of the realm be no trouble to thee, 
I can guard it myself, but my serf thou may'st be ; 
A place there is still 
In our household thou mayest be happy to fill." 

"Thy serf," exclaimed Frithiof, "I never shall be; 
I 'm a man for myself, as my father was, free. 
From thy silver sheath fly, 
Angurvadel, to fright his security." 

Bright flashed the blue steel 'gainst the sun-lighted sky. 
And the Runes blazed blood-red as he waved it on high: 

"Angurvadel," quoth he, 

"Thou, at least, art of ancient nobility. 

" If the peace of the grave did not pacify me. 
Dark King, my good blade would have brought it to thee ; 
Now hear this last word. 
Come never again within reach of my sword.' 


So spake he, and cleft with a terrible stroke 
The gold shield of Helge, which hung on an oak, 
In twain at a blow. 
And its crash on the grave was reechoed below. 

"Well stricken, good sword! now lie quiet, and think 
Upon mightier deeds; but at present let sink 
Thy Runes' bright glow; 
O'er the blue waves we must homeward go." 



And King Ring from the board his gold seat thrust forth ; 

Skalds and warriors rise 
To list to their monarch's word of worth, 
Famed in the north; 

Good was he as Balder, and as Mimer wise. 

Peaceful his land, like groves where gods are found; 

Never arose 
The din of arms within its sheltered bound; 
And all around 

The grass grew green, and sweetly bloomed the rose. 

Justice sate merciful, but undismayed, 

Upon the judging-stone; 
And peace each year abundant tribute paid; 
While widely spread 

In sunshine bright the golden corn-fields shone. 

O'er ocean the black-breasted dragons hied 

On snowy pinions; 
Thither from many a distant land they plied. 
And from far and wide 

Brought riches more to his rich dominions. 

With peace dwelt freedom safely there. 

And though the King 
All, as the father of the land, held dear. 
Still, without fear. 

Each spoke his mind upon the open Ting. 


He 'd ruled the Northmen, in peace and right. 

Full thirty years; 
None left his presence unsatisfied; 
And every night 

Sped to Odin his name in his people's prayers. 

So King Ring from the board his gold seat thrust forth. 

And all rose glad 
To hear the monarch's word of worth, 
Famed in the north, 

But, deeply sighing, thus he spake and said: 

**In Folkvang sitteth my gentle Queen, 
On purple throned; 
But here on her grave the grass grows green. 
And flowers are seen 

To bloom by the brook that flows around. 

'* Ne'er find I a Queen so lovely and leal 

My crown to share. 
She's fled to Valhalla in joy to dwell; 
But the common weal 

Makes me seek for my children a mother's care. 

** With the summer winds often we used to see 

King Bele here ; 
A lily-sweet daughter he left, and she 
My choice shall be. 

With the morning dawn on her cheeks so fair. 

^^She is young, and young maidens love, I know. 
To pluck flowers of spring. 


My bloom is past, and chill winter's snow 
Full long ago 

Hath whitened the hoary locks of your King. 

^^Yet an honest man still her choice may be, 

Though white his hair; 
And if to my motherless children she 
A mother will be, 

Then autumn with spring-time his throne may share. 

*'Take gold from my coffers, take bridal array 
From each oaken chest; 
And follow, ye bards, with your harps on the way. 
For meetly may 

He seek Brage's aid who a-wooing doth haste." 

Forth with shouting and glee his men sped strong. 

With gifts and with gold; 
And the Skalds they followed, a winding throng. 
With harp and with song. 

And the home of King Bele's sons soon they be- 

Two days they feasted, they feasted three; 

When the fourth was come. 
To hear what Helge's answer might be 
Entreated they. 

That back again they might hie them home. 

To the grove for sacrifice brought he in haste 

Both falcon and steed; 
Then sought each Vala, and sought each priest. 


What fate were best 

For his sister, the beautiful Ingborg, decreed. 

But the omens were evil, though anxiously tried 

Each Vala and priest; 
And Helge, by evil signs terrified, 
Nay!" sturdily cried, 

''For men must yield to the god's behest," 


But merry King Halfdan laughingly cried, 

"Oh! wasted feast. 
Had King Greybeard himself chosen hither to ride. 
Full gladly I 'd 

Have helped him myself to climb up on his beast." 

The messengers hied them home angrily; 

To their master's ear 
The tale they told, and loud swore he — 
Right speedily 

King Greybeard this stain from his honor shall clear." 

He smote on his war-shield, which hung at rest 

On a linden-tree; 
And his dragons sped over the sea in haste. 
With blood-red crest; 

And the helmet plumes waved merrily. 

And to Helge the rumors of war came near. 

In dread quoth he — 
" King Ring is mighty, we 've cause to fear, 
So in Balder's care 

In the temple 't were better my sister should be." 


There sate the loving one mournfully 

In the peaceful shade; 
She wrought in silk, and in gold wrought she; 

Her tears fell, like dew on the lily shed. 


Frithiof sat with Björn the true 
At the chess-board, fair to view; 

Squares of silver decked the frame, 
Interchanged with squares of gold. 
Hilding entered, thus he greeted, — 
"On the upper bench be seated. 

Drain the horn until my game 
I finish, foster-father bold." 

Quoth Hilding: "Hither come I speeding, 
For King Bele's sons entreating; 

Danger daily sounds more near. 
And the people's hope art thou." 
"Björn," quoth Frithiof, "now beware, 
111 thy King doth seem to fare, 

A pawn may free him from his fear. 
So scruple not to let it go." 

" Court not, Frithiof, kings' displeasure. 
Though with Ring they ill may measure; 
Yet eagle's young have wings of power, 
And their force thy strength outvies." 
" If, Björn, thou wilt my tower beset. 
Thus easily thy wile I meet. 

No longer canst thou gain my tower. 
Which back to place of safety hies." 

"Ingeborg, in Balder's keeping, 
Passeth all her days in weeping. 


Thine aid in strife may she not claim, 
Fearful maiden, azure-eyed." 
"What wouldst thou, Bjorn? Assail my Queen, 
Which dear from childhood's days hath been, — 
The noblest piece in all the game? 
Her I '11 defend, whate'er betide." 

"What! Frithiof, wilt thou not reply? 
And shall thy foster-father hie 

Unheeded from thine hearth away 
Because thy game is long to end?" 
Then stood Frithiof up, and laid 
Hilding's hand in his, and said, 

^^ Already hast thou heard me say 

What answers to their prayers I send. 

** Go, let the sons of Bele learn 
That, since my suit they dared to spurn. 
No bond between us shall be tied; 
Their serf I never shall become." 
"Well! follow on thy proper path; 
111 fits it me to chide thy wrath : 

All to some good may Odin guide," 
Hilding said, and hied him home. 


"Though Bele's sons may widely sound, 

From vale to vale, the battle-cry, 
I go not forth; my battle-ground, 

My world, in Balder's grove doth lie. 
From thence no backward glance I '11 cast 

On kingly spite or earthly care; 
But joys of the immortals taste 

United with my Ingborg fair. 

"As long as glowing sunshine hovers 

O'er flowers fair in purple light. 
Like rosy-tinted veil that covers 

The bosom of my Ingborg bright, — 
So long I wander by the strand. 

By longing ceaselessly devoured. 
And, sighing, trace upon the sand 

Her name beloved with my sword. 

" How slowly pass the hours away ; 

Why, son of Delling, lingerest thou ? 
Hast thou not marked each isle and bay. 

Each hill and grove, full oft ere now? 
Doth no belov'd one westward dwell 

Who for thy coming long doth grieve. 
And flieth to thy breast to tell 

Her love at dawn, her love at eve? 

"But, weary with thy course, at last 

Thou sinkest downwards from the height; 


Her rosy carpet eve doth haste 

To spread for all the gods' delight; 

Of love waves whisper as they flee; 
Winds whisper love in breathing light; 

Mother of gods ! I welcome thee, 
In bridal pearls arrayed, O Night! 

^^Each silent star glides through the sky, 

Like lover to his mistress true: 
Over the waves, Ellida, fly. 

Speed, speed us on, ye billows blue. 
To home of loving gods we steer, 

Where yonder lies the holy grove. 
And Balder's temple standeth near. 

Where dwells the goddess of my love. 

" How happy spring I to the strand. 

Beloved Earth, I press thee glad; 
And you, ye little flowers, that stand 

My path to gem with white and red; 
Thou Moon, with silvery light that beamest 

Round mound, and grove, and temple tall. 
How fair thou sittest there, and dreamest. 

Like Saga in a bridal hall. 

"Who taught thee, flowery brook, to tell 
In murmur sweet, my love exprest? 

Who gave thee, Northland's nightingale, 
Those wailings, stolen from my breast? 

The fairies paint in sunset hues 
My Ingeborg on cloud-banks gray; 


A rival beauty Freya views, 

And, jealous, breathes the form away. 

**Yct may her image now depart. 

Since, fair as Hope, here cometh she; 
Still, as in childhood, true of heart. 
She bringeth love's reward to me. 
Come, darling, to my fond caressing. 

Cling to this heart, where thou art dear; 
*My soul's delight, my being's blessing. 
Come to my arms, and linger there. 

^^As slender as the lily slight, 

As blooming as the opened rose; 
Thou art as pure as Balder bright. 

Yet warm of heart, as Freya glows. 
Kiss me, my Ingborg; let my love 

In joy bring kindred joy to thee; 
For earth beneath and heaven above 

Both vanish when thou kissest me. 

**Fear not, no danger cometh near; 

There standeth Björn with trusty blade, 
And men enough, if need there were. 

To shield us 'gainst the world arrayed. 
And I, oh ! could but I contend 

For thee, as now embracing me. 
Glad to Valhalla should I wend. 

And thou shouldst my Valkyria be. 

"Of Balder's wrath what whispereth thou? 
He, tender god, ne'er loveth ill 


Those fond ones who, with plighted vow. 

In loving, his decrees fulfil. 
He who true faith in heart doth bear. 

And beaming sunshine on his brow. 
Was e'er his love to Nanna dear 

More pure, more warm, than ours is now ? 

^^ There stands his image; he is near; 

How softly gazing from above; 
And I will offer to him here 

A heart that glows with faithful love. 
Kneel down with me, there cannot be 

For Balder fairer sacrifice 
Than faithful hearts, which lovingly 

Unite in truth as firm as his. 

"To heaven, more than earth, my love 

Belongs, despise it, spurn it not; 
For it was born in heaven above. 

And longeth homeward to be brought. 
Oh, would we were already sped; 

Oh! would we could together die; 
That I triumphantly might lead 

My pallid Ingborg to the sky. 

"Then, when to strife the warriors went. 
Through silver portals as they ride, 

I 'd gaze on thee, a trusty friend. 
And sit rejoicing by thy side. 

When Valhall's maidens passed around 

The mead-horns, crowned with foam of gold. 


To thee alone my pledge should sound, 
Thy name alone with love be told. 

^^On some fair sea-surrounded isle 

I *d build for thee a bower of love, 
And there the time away we 'd while. 

Midst golden fruits in shadowy grove. 
And when, with clear and lovely ray, 

Valhalla's sun illumed the plain. 
Back to the gods we 'd take our way. 

But long to reach our isle again. 

^^ And I 'd adorn with star-light glance 

The golden tresses of thy head. 
And high in Vingolfs hall should dance 

My pallid lily rosy red. 
Then from the dance my love I M bring 

To bowers of peace, in fondness true. 
And Brage, silver-bearded, sing 

Thy nuptial song, forever new. 

" How sings the throstle in the grove. 

Its song is from Valhalla's strand; 
How sweetly shines the moon above, — 

It shineth from the spirits' land. 
Both song and shining join to tell 

Of worlds of love unmarred by care : 
Would in such worlds that I might dwell 

With thee, with thee, my Ingborg fair! 

"Nay, weep not, weep not: life still streams 
Within my veins: oh! weep no more. 


But mortals' love and mortals' dreams 
Are ever upward prone to soar. 

Ah! stretch but hitherward thine arms, 
Bend but thy loving eyes on me. 

And see! how soon thy fondness charms 
Thy dreamer back from heaven to thee." 

"Hist! 'tis the lark!" — "Nay, 'tis a dove 

That cooeth fondness in the shade; 
The lark is slumbering 'neath the grove. 

In sheltered nest beside its mate. 
Oh! happy they, for daylight brings 

To them no cause for dread or fear. 
Their lives are free as are the wings 

That skyward waft the gladsome pair." 

"See, morning dawns." — "Nay, 'tis the glow 

Of watchful beacons eastward shed; 
Our love we still may whisper low. 

Not yet the happy night is sped. 
Belate thee, golden star of day, 

O morning, slumber, slumber still. 
For Frithiof may'st thou sleep away 

'Till Ragnarök, if such thy will. 

"But ah! in vain the loving hope; 

Already morning's breezes blow, 
Already eastern roses ope. 

As bright as Ingborg's cheek can glow. 
The band of winged songsters twitters, 

All joyous in the bright'ning sky; 


And earth awakes, and ocean glitters. 
Away must gloom and lovers fly. 

"Now mounts the sun in majesty: 

Forgive, O golden god, my prayer, 
I feel thy near divinity : 

How noble art thou, and how fair. 
Oh! that I so my path could tread, 

Like thee, in majesty and might. 
And, proud and glad, my life be clad. 

Like thine, in victory and light. 

"Now here, before thine eyes, I set 

The fairest maiden in the north; 
Watch over her, O Balder great. 

Thine image she on grassy earth. 
Her soul is spotless as thy ray; 

Her eye is as thy heaven blue; 
And thy bright gold, that decks the day. 

Glows in her lovely tresses too. 

"Farewell! my Ingeborg, and now 

Another night we must await: 
Farewell! one kiss upon thy brow. 

And one upon thy lips so sweet. 
Now sleep and dream of me, and waking 

Still on our love in fond thought dwell, — 
Count of the hours, as I do, taking, 

Loving, as I do; fare thee well." 



Already comes the day, but brings not Frithiof, 
Though yesterday the open Ting was held 
At Bele's grave : well chosen was the place 
Where Bele's daughter's fate should be decreed. 
How many fond entreaties did it cost, — 
How many bitter tears, — by Freya told. 
To melt the ice of hate round Frithiofs heart. 
And win the promise from his haughty lips. 
Once more to offer a forgiving hand? 
Ah! man is stern, and for his own vain pride. 
Miscalled his honor, he hath little care, — 
Ay, less than care, — how easily he may 
Torture and wound a fondly loving heart. 
And hapless woman, clinging to his breast. 
Is like the growth of moss, which on the cliff. 
Blooming in pallor, difficultly keeps 
Its hold unmarked upon the sturdy rock, 
Drawing its nurture from the dews of night. 

And yesterday my fate hath been decreed! 
And over it the evening sun hath set: 
Yet Frithiof cometh not. The pallid stars 
Wane one by one, and vanish and depart. 
And with each gleam, that slowly fades away. 
Some hope within me sinketh to the grave. 
Yet, wherefore should I hope? Valhalla's powers 
Owe me no favor, by myself estranged : 


The mighty Balder, in whose shrine I dwell, 
I have offended: for no mortal's love 
Is pure enough for such a god's beholding; 
And earthly joys should never dare to come 
Wherever they, the holy and sublime 
Rulers of heaven, have their dwelling made. 
And yet, what crime is mine? The gentle god 
Could ne'er be angry at a maiden's love. 
Is it not pure, as Urda's silver wave. 
And innocent, as Gefion's morning dream ? 
The lofty Sun hath never turned away 
Its eye of brightness from a loving pair; 
And starry Night, the widow of the Day, 
Amidst her mourning hears their vows with joy. 
Can what is holy 'neath the vaulted sky 
Become a crime beneath a temple's dome? 
I love my Frithiof, and have ever loved ; 
Far as my furthest recollections go. 
Growth of my growth, that love hath ever been : 
When it began I never knew; can tell 
No hour of life that hath not been of love. 
And as the fruit is formed around the core. 
And, clinging there, in Nature's time becomes. 
Beneath the sunbeams, like a ball of gold. 
So have I too grown up, and ripening glad 
Around this kernel, all my being is 
Only the outward shell that holds my love. 
Forgive me. Balder! See, a faithful heart 
Into thy halls I brought; with such alone 
Will I depart, and speed, with such alone. 
Over bright Bifrost's bridge; with such alone 
Stand, faithful still, before Valhalla's gods. 


There shall my love, a child of heaven, like them, 

Mirror itself in shining shields, and fly 

On dove-like pinion through the endless space 

Of azure heaven to Allfader's breast. 

From whence it came. Oh! wherefore darkenest thou. 

In the gray dawn, thy gentle brow with frowns? 

The blood of mighty Odin fills my veins 

As well as thine: but, oh! not e'en to thee. 

Great kinsman, can I sacrifice my love. 

Worth more to me than all this boundless heaven. 

Yet can I offer all my joy of life. 

And cast it from me, even as a queen 

Can cast away her royal robe, and still 

Remain the queen she was. Well ! 't is decreed 

Valhalla's great ones shall not need to blush 

For their descendant. I will meet my fate 

As heroes meet with theirs. Here cometh Frithiof, 

How wild, how pale! All, all is lost, is lost! 

With him approacheth, too, my angry Nome. 

Be strong, my heart! — Oh! welcome, though how late! 

Our fate is sealed; too easily I read 

It on thy brow. 


Stand there also there 
No blood-red Runes, bespeaking scorn and shame. 
Insult and ban? 


Oh! Frithiof, calm thyself. 
Tell me thy tale: the worst my fears foretold 
Full long ago. For all am I prepared. 



I reached the Ting, where stand our fathers' tombs, 
And round its grassy sides, shield crowding shield, 
And sword in hand, the Northland's sons arrayed. 
One ring within another gathered, stood 
Up to the summit; on the judging-stone. 
Like a dark thunder-cloud. King Helge sate, — 
The pallid sacrificer, with forbidding looks; 
And by him, thoughtless, leaning on his sword, 
A fair, well-fashioned youth. King Halfdan sate. 
Then stood I forth, and cried — "War cometh near; 
The foemen's shields upon our borders clash. 
King Helge, peril threateneth thy realm. 
Give me thy sister, and I bring to thee 
This arm to combat, which may service do. 
And let our former quarrel be forgot. 
With Ingborg's kindred love I not to strive. 
Bethink thee, monarch, and together save 
Thy golden crown, thy sister's happiness. 
Here is my hand; by Thor divine, no more 
Than this last time I offer it for peace." 
A shout filled all the Ting, a thousand swords 
Clashed loud approval on a thousand shields. 
Far fled the sounds into the lofty skies, 
Which drank the shouts of freemen for the right : 
"Oh, give him Ingeborg, the gentle lily; 
No fairer ever in our valleys bloomed: 
His is the bravest sword in all the land. 
Oh! give him Ingeborg." Our foster-father. 
The aged Hilding, with the silvery beard. 
Stood forth, and spake, in words of wisdom deep. 


Short, pithy pleas, which rang like strokes of swords. 
And Halfdan, rising from the royal seat, 
Himself besought, with many a word and sign. 
All was in vain, and bootless every prayer! 
So beaming sunshine, on the barren rock. 
No fruit enticeth from its stony heart; 
And Helge's dark, unchanging visage spake 
To all entreaties still a ghastly Nay. 
"A yeoman's son," said he, at length, in scorn, 
"Might wed with Ingborg; but to Valhall's daughter 
Becometh ill a sacrilegious mate. 
Hast thou not, Frithiof, broken Balder's peace? 
Hast thou not seen my sister in his shrine, 
When Day had hid itself before the crime ? 
Answer me. Yea or Nay ! " Loud rose a cry 
Amidst the crowd of men: — "Say Nay, say only Nay, 
Thou Thorsten's mighty son, almost a king; 
Thy word we trust, and we for thee will sue: 
Only say Nay, and Ingeborg is thine." 
" My joy of life hangs on a single word," 
I said; "yet fear not therefore thou, O King! 
I would not lie for all Valhalla's bliss. 
Then scarce for earthly joy; I saw thy sister. 
And spake with her at night-time in the temple. 
Yet thus I never broke the peace of Balder." Here 
I had to cease. A scream of horrid fear 
Spread through the Ting; those who beside me stood 
Fell off as from a plague-besmitten man. 
Where'er I looked, their superstitious fear 
Had hushed each tongue, and every face was pale, 
Which just before had flushed with joyous hope. 
There conquered Helge: then, in ghastly tones. 


Hollow and deep (like those of Vala dread, 

In Vegtamsquida, when to Odin singing 

Of Hela's triumph, and the Asen's fall). 

Thus spake he gloomy: — ^^ Banishment or death 

I might denounce by our ancestral laws 

Against thy sin; but I will show me mild 

As Balder is, whose holiness thou 'st slighted. 

In western ocean doth a cluster lie 

Of islands, where Jarl Angantyr bears sway : 

A stated yearly tribute paid the Jarl 

While Bele lived, but never since his death. 

Cross thou the sea, and fetch that tribute back 

So may thy service for thy sin atone." 

Then in mean scorn he added — "Hard of hand. 

They say, he is; and, like the dragon Fafner, 

He watcheth o'er his gold; but who can stand 

Against our second Sigurd, Fafner's bane ? 

This shall a worthier adventure prove 

Than maidens to beguile in Balder's grove. 

Next summer let us see thee homeward wend 

With all thy glory, and thy treasure, too : 

Else shalt thou be a knave in Northmen's eyes; 

And all thy lifetime peaceless in the land." 

Such was his speech ; and so the Ting dispersed. 


And now thy purpose? 


Have I aught to choose? 
Hangeth my honor not on his demand? 
And I must free it — ay, if Angantyr 


His wretched gold in Nastrand's waves should hide. 
This day shall I depart. 


And lea vest me? 


Nay, nay, I leave thee not; thou, too, shalt come, 


Impossible ! 


O Ingborg, hear me first. 
Thy crafty brother seemeth to forget 
That Angantyr had been my father's friend. 
As well as Bele's; and he yet may give 
With good will what I ask: should he refuse, 
I have a sharp-tongued, mighty advocate 
My cause to plead; it hangeth by my side. 
The gold he loves to Helge I will send, 
Freeing forever, thus, myself and thee 
From service to this crowned hypocrite. 
But we ourselves,, my Ingborg fair, will spread 
EUida's sails; and over seas unknown 
She '11 bear us bounding to a happier land. 
And find sweet shelter for our banished love. 
What care have I for Northland, for a race 
Who, when their priests but speak, in fear grow pale. 
And rude would tear the flow'r-crowned cup of life 
From out the sanctuary of my heart. 
By Freya, nay, they never shall succeed. 
None but a slave will to his mother-soil 


Be chained unwilling; I will wander free. 
Free as the mountain winds, A little clay 
Gathered from Bele's and my father's graves 
Finds place upon our bark; and that is all 
That we of Fatherland can ever need. 
O my beloved, warmer sunshine glows 
Than our pale light above the snowy hills; 
And we can find a fairer heaven than here. 
Where gentle stars with godlike beam glance down, 
And in the happy, balmy summer night 
Watch in the laurel groves each loving pair. 
Full far my father, Thorsten, Viking's son. 
Wandered in warfare; and full oft he told 
By blazing hearth through the long winter nights 
Of southern ocean, with its islands fair: 
Green groves reflected in the shining waves. 
In days of old ruled there a mighty race; 
And gods tremendous in their marble shrines. 
But now forsaken stand they. Grass grows o'er 
The mounds deserted; and wild flowers hide 
Inscriptions which the old world's wisdom show. 
Ruins of tapering pillars there grow green, 
Covered with leaves of clinging southern weeds, 
And all around the lovely earth brings forth 
Harvests unsown of all that men can need. 
And golden fruits on shadowy branches glow : 
There grapes in heavy clusters on the vine 
Hang purple-red, and ripe as thy sweet lips: — 
There, Ingeborg, we '11 found beyond the waves 
Another Northland, fairer far than here ; 
And with our faithful love rejoice once more 
Deserted shrines and temples, and delight 


.With mortal fondness the forgotten gods. 
Then if some mariner with flapping sail 
(For there no storms engage) drift past our isle 
By rosy sunset, and with joyous gaze 
Look from the ruddy ocean to the strand, 
Then on the temple's threshold shall he see 
Thee, a new Freya (her, methinks, they name 
In their tongue Aphrodite) — shall behold 
Thy golden locks light floating in the breeze; 
Thine eyes more radiant than the southern sky. 
And growing round thee, coming by degrees, 
A temple-dwelling little Alfen-race 
With flushing cheeks, as if the South had set 
All its fair roses in the northern snows. 
Ah ! Ingeborg, how fair, how near doth stand 
Each earthly joy to two fond loving hearts ! 
If boldly grasped whene'er its time be come. 
It follows willingly, and builds for them 
A Vingolf even here on earth below. 
Come, hasten ! even now each word we speak 
Stealeth away an instant from our joy. 
All is prepared, and, eager for her flight, 
EUida flaps her darkling eagle-wings, 
And the fresh breathing north wind calls us forth 
Forever from this superstitious shore. 
How? Lingerest thou? 


Alas! I cannot follow thee. 


Not follow me? 



Ah ! Frithiof, thou art happy ! 
Following no man, thou canst forward go, 
Like thy swift vessel; at the rudder stands 
Thy will alone; and so thou steerest forth, 
With steady hand, above the angry waves. 
Alas! how different my lot must be. 
My destiny in other hands must lie. 
Which yield not up their prey, although it bleed. 
Self-sacrifice, and grief, and pining is 
The freedom of the daughter of a king. 


Art thou not free, whene'er thou wilt? sitteth thy sire 
Not in his grave? 


Ah! Helge is my father. 
Or standeth in his place; without his will 
I cannot wed: and Bele's daughter steals 
No happiness, however near it lie. 
For what were woman, thus self-willed, to break 
Those bonds wherewith the wise AUfader linketh 
Ever the weaker being to the strong ? 
In the pale water-lily is her type. 
Sinking or rising on the changing waves; 
Above it speeds the sailor's keel away. 
And recks not how it wound the tender stem: 
Such is its destiny; and yet as long 
As clings the root tenacious in the sand 
It sprouteth ever forth; its pallid hues 
It borroweth from sister-stars above. 


Itself a star upon the azure deep : 

But, by the roots uptorn, it drifts away, 

A faded leaf upon the desert wave. 

Last night — and oh ! a wretched night it was — 

Anxious as watch'd I, and thou earnest not. 

Thoughts all-terrific, offspring of the night. 

The raven-locked, passed constantly before 

My waking eyes, which burned, but could not weep. 

Balder himself, the bloodless god, did seem 

To bend upon me glances filled with rage. 

And so, last night, I have revolved my fate, 

And thus determined; I will linger here, 

Submissive victim to my brother's will. 

Yet it is well that then I had not heard 

Thy hope-breathed dreams of cloud-imagined isles, 

Where ever glows the heavenly sunset's light 

O'er flow'ry lands of tranquil peace and love. 

How few can tell how weak we are; the dreams 

Of childhood, long-forgotten, rise anew 

And whisper in my ear with gentle tones 

As well remembered as a sister's voice, — 

As sweet and tender as a lover's tones. 

But now I will not hearken, will not heed 

Those sweet, persuading, once beloved words ! 

Can I, the Northland's child, there southwards dwell ? 

I am too pale for southern roses' bloom: 

Too colorless my thought for Southland's glow. 

It would be melted 'neath its burning sun; 

And longingly my weary eye would strain 

Towards the bright north-star, which unchanging keeps 

Its heavenly watch above our fathers' graves. 

My noble Frithiof shall not fly away 


From the dear fatherland he should defend, 
Nor ever cast his wide-spread fame aside 
For such a trifle as a maiden's love. 
A life in which the sun spins year by year. 
Each day unvarying from the day before, 
A sameness beautiful, but everlasting. 
May suit for maidens; but for manly souls 
Like thine a tranquil life is wearisome. 
Thou thrivest best when storms tumultuous ride 
Their foaming battle-steeds across the seas. 
And on a swaying plank, for life or death 
Battiest with peril for the meed of fame. 
The lovely desert thou hast painted were 
A grave untimely for thine unborn deeds; 
Together with thy shield, thy free-born soul 
Would gather rust. Oh! that shall never be: 
Ne'er will I steal away my Frithiofs name 
From Skalden songs, and never will I quench 
My hero's glory in its rosy dawn. 
Be wise, my Frithiof; let us yield before 
The mighty Nornes, and, so submitting, save 
At least our honor from the wreck of fate; 
Our joy of life we can no longer save. 
So we must separate. 


But wherefore so — 
Because a sleepless night thy mind disturbs? 


Because thy safety and my worth demand. 



A woman's worth in manly love is found. 


He loves not long who doth not honor too. 


Inconstant stubbornness no honor wins. 


A noble stubbornness is love of right. 


Yet yesterday it strove not with our love. 


Nor doth to-day, but with our flight the more. 


It is necessity that calls us. Come. 


Needful alone is what is right and noble. 


High mounts the sun, the time is fleeting by. 


Ah me! it is gone by, gone by forever. 



Bethink thee well, — is this thy last resolve? 


I have bethought me well, and so resolve. 


Farewell, then, Helge's sister, fare thee well! 


o Frithiof, Frithiof, is it thus we sever? 
And hast thou then no kindly glance for me. 
Thy childhood's friend; hast thou no hand to ofFer 
To her unhappy, whom thou once didst love? 
Think'st thou I stand on roses here, and cast 
Away with senseless smile my lifetime's joy. 
Uprooting from my heart without a pang 
The hope beloved which with my growth hath grown ? 
Hast thou not been the day-dream of my heart ? 
All that I ever knew of joy was Frithiof; 
And all that life hath generous or brave 
Forever in my mind thy image took. 
Oh! shadow not that image to me, meet 
With harshness not the poor weak girl, who offers 
All that on earth's wide circuit she holds dear, — 
All that can dearest be in Valhall's halls. 
Frithiof, this sacrifice is hard enough, 
A word of comfort it might well deserve. 
I know thou lovest me; I knew it well. 
Already when our days began to bloom. 
And surely shall thy Ingborg's love pursue 


Thee many a year, where'er thou mayest wend. 
But din of arms at length will dull thy grief. 
Which, floating far upon the stormy waves. 
Will find no place beside thee on the bench. 
When, glad with victory, thou drain'st the horn. 
Yet now and then, when in the peace of night 
Thou musterest memories of the bygone days. 
Amongst them may flit by an image pale 
Well known to thee, and bringing greeting fond 
Of thy dear home, and it shall bear the form 
Of the pale maid who dwells in Haider's grove. 
Thou wilt not drive it from thee, though its glance 
May troubled seem; ah! whisper but a word. 
One word of friendship to it, and the winds 
Of night on faithful wings will waft it me; 
One comfort left, the only one I own: 
For I have nothing to disperse my grief; 
All that surroundeth me recalleth it: 
These lofty temple halls but speak of thee; 
Even Balder's image in the still moonlight. 
Threatening no longer, seems thy form to take. 
Seaward I look, — ^there swam thy keel, and clave 
Its way to me awaiting on the strand. 
Landward I look, — there standeth many a stem 
With Ingborg's name deep carved upon the bark: 
The trees stretch out, and so the name grows faint, 
*T is but a token, as they say, of death. 
I ask of daylight, when it saw thee last ? 
Of night I ask, but she remaineth still. 
Even the sea, which beareth thee, returneth 
My questions only with a sigh to shore. 
Greetings I '11 send thee in the sunset red. 


Quenching its fires afar amongst thy waves. 

Each cloudship that sails through the sky shall bear 

A freight of sorrow from the lonely one. 

So in the maiden's chamber will I sit, 

A dark-clad widow, mourning for her joyj 

Embroidering broken lilies in the frame. 

Till Spring a newly-woven carpet spread. 

Covered with sweeter lilies, o'er my grave; 

Or, taking up my harp, my endless woe 

Breathe forth in deepest tones of misery. 

Or burst in tears, as now. 


Thou conquerest, child of Bele; weep no more; 
Forgive my anger : ah ! 't was naught but grief, 
Which for a moment borrowed anger's garb, — 
A garb which I can never carry long. 
Oh! Ingeborg, thou art my Norna good; 
The noble best nobility can teach; 
The wisdom of necessity can have 
Never a better advocate than thee. 
Oh! lovely Vala, with the rosy lips. 
Yes, I will yield before necessity, — 
Will part from thee, but never part from hope. 
Hope I '11 bear with me o'er the western waves, 
I '11 bear it with me to the gates of death. 
With the first spring-day will I hie me home; 
Me shall King Helge soon, I trust, behold, 
My vow accomplished, and my task fulfilled, 
The crime forgiven of which I stand accused. 
Then shall I ask thee, nay, shall claim thy hand 
Upon the open Ting, 'midst naked swords. 


From Helge not, but from the Northland race, 
That is thy sponsor true, thou child of kings. 
I have a word for him who shall refuse. 
Till then, farewell, be true, remember me; 
And take, in memory of our childhood's love, 
My arm-ring here, Valunder's beauteous work. 
With heavenly wonders graven on the gold; 
Still worthier wonder is a faithful heart. 
How well it clingeth to thy dazzling arm — 
A glow-worm glittering on a lily-stem. 
Farewell, my bride, my darling, fare thee well; 
Bide a few moons, and all our grief is changed. 

(^He goes.) 


How proud, how valiant, and how strong in hope. 

The point he setteth of his trusty sword 

At Noma's breast, and crieth — "Thou must yield." 

Ah! my poor Frithiof, Norna never yields; 

She goes her way, and laughs at Angurvadel. 

How little knowest thou my sullen brother! 

Thine open valiant soul can never fathom 

The gloomy depths of his ; nor tell the hate 

That burneth fiercely in his envious breast. 

His sister's hand to thee he '11 never give. 

Far sooner will he risk his crown, his life. 

And offer me to hoary Odin, or 

To aged Ring, with whom he now contends. 

Where'er I look, I see no hope for me; 

Yet am I glad, it liveth in thine heart. 

So I will keep my sorrow for myself; 

And, oh! may all the good gods follow thee! 


Thine arm-ring here shall help me well to tell 
The dreary months ofF, in consuming care; 
Two, four, and six, — then mayest thou return. 
But never find again thine Ingeborg. 


"Autumn is here; 
High-heaving Ocean its waves doth rear; 
And still, here, far from my home, 
Gladly I 'd roam. 

'^ Long did I view 
His sail in the west, on its course as it flew; 
Oh ! happy, my Frithiof to follow 
Over the billow. 

"Ye blue billows rough. 
Swell not so high; ye speed swiftly enough. 
Shine brightly, ye stars, to display 
To my Frithiof his way. 

"He will be home 
With Spring; but his dear one will come 
No more to his love-breathing call 
In valley or hall. 

"Ghastly, and cold 
To the voice of his love, she shall lie in the mould ; 
Or, offered for her brother's need. 
Lamenting, bleed. 

" Thou, his falcon, art left ; 
Mine shalt thou be, and I '11 treasure the gift; 
But by me, thou wing'd hunter of heaven. 
Thy food shall be given. 


*'Thy place thou shalt claim, 
Displayed on his wrist on the 'broidering frame ; 
Thy wings of silver folding 
Thy talons golden. 


Freya, in need, 

Took falcon's wings once, through creation to 

And her Oedur beloved sought forth 
In south and in north. 

"E'en couldest thou share 
Thy pinions with me, scarce my weight could 

they bear: 
'T is death, and death only, that brings 
Celestial wings. 


Sky-hunter brave. 

Perch on my shoulder, and gaze o'er the wave. 

Alas! how long may we gaze 

While Frithiof delays. 

**When I am dead 
He will return; to my message give heed- 
Welcome and comfort, over and over. 
My sorrowing lover." 



Now, King Helge stood 

In fury on the strand. 
And in embittered mood 

Adjured the Storm-fiend's band. 

Gloomy is the heaven growing, 

Through desert skies the thunders roar, 
In the deep the billows brewing 

Cream with foam the surface o'er. 
Lightnings cleave the storm-cloud, seeming 

Blood-red gashes in its side; 
And all the sea-birds, wildly screaming. 

Fly the terrors of the tide. 

"Storm is coming, comrades, 
Its angry wings I hear 
Flapping in the distance. 
But fearless we may be. 
Sit tranquil in the grove. 
And fondly think on me. 
Lovely in thy sorrow. 

Beauteous Ingeborg." 


Now two storm-fiends came 

Against Ellida's side; 
One was wind-cold Ham, 

One was snowy Heyd. 


Loose set they the tempest's pinions, 

Down diving in ocean deep, 
Billows, from unseen dominions. 

To the god's abode they sweep. 
All the powers of frightful death, 

Astride upon the rapid wave. 
Rise from the foaming depths beneath. 

The bottomless, unfathomed grave. 

*' Fairer was our journey 
Beneath the shining moon, 
Over the mirrory ocean 
To Balder's sacred grove. 
Warmer far than here 
Was Ingborg's loving heart; 
Whiter than the sea-foam 

Heaved her gentle breast." 


Now Solundar-oe 

Ariseth from the foam; 
Calmer the sea doth grow 

As near the port they come. 

But for safety valiant Viking 

Will not readily delay, 
At the helm he stands, delighting 

In the tempest's stormy play. 
Now the sheets more close belaying. 

Swifter through the surge he cleaves; 
Westward, further westward flying 

Lightly o'er the rapid waves. 


"Yet longer do I find it sweet 
To battle with the breeze, 
Thunderstorm and Northman meet, 
Exulting on the seas. 
For shame might Ingborg blush, 
If her osprey flew, 
Frightened by a storm-stroke. 

Heavy-winged to land." 


Now ocean fierce battles. 

The wave-troughs deeper grow. 

The whistling cordage rattles, 
The planks creak loud below. 

But though higher waves appearing 

Seem like mountains to engage. 
Brave EUida, never fearing, 

Mocks the angry ocean's rage. 
Like a meteor, flashing brightness. 

Darts she forth, with dauntless breast, 
Bounding, with a roebuck's lightness. 

Over trough and over crest. 

** Sweeter were the kisses 
Of Ingborg, in the grove. 
Than here to taste in tempest 
High-sprinkled, briny foam. 
Better the royal daughter 
Of Bele to embrace. 
Than here, in anxious labor. 
The tiller fast to hold." 


Whirling cold and fast, 

Snow-wreaths fill the sail; 
Over deck and mast 

Patters heavy hail. 

The very stem they see no more. 

So thick is darkness spread; 
As gloom and horror hover o'er 

The chamber of the dead. 
Still to sink the sailor dashes 

Implacable each angry wave; 
Gray, as if bestrewn with ashes, 

Yawns the endless, awful grave. 

** For us, in bed of ocean. 
Azure pillows Ran prepares; 
On thy pillow, Ingeborg, 
Thou thinkest upon me. 
Higher ply, my comrades, 
EUida's sturdy oars; 
Good ship, heaven-fashioned. 

Bear us on an hour." 

• . • 

O'er the side apace 

Now a sea hath leapt; 
In an instant's space 

Clear the deck is swept. 

From his arm now Frithiof hastens 

To draw his ring, three marks in weight; 

Like the morning sun it glistens, 
The golden gift of Bele great. 


With his sword in pieces cutting 
The famous work of pigmies' art 

Shares he quickly, none forgetting, 
Unto every man a part. 

^^Gold is good possession 
When one goes a-wooing; 
Let none go empty handed 
Down to azure Ran. 
Icy are her kisses, 
Fickle her embraces ; 
But we '11 charm the sea-bride 

With our ruddy gold." 

• • • 

Fiercer than at first. 

Again the storm attacks, 

And the sails are burst. 
And the rudder cracks. 

O'er the ship half buried tearing, 

Now the waves an entrance gain, 
At the pumps the crew, despairing. 

Fail to drive them forth again. 
Frithiof now no longer doubteth 

That he Death had got on board, 
Still above the storm he shouteth. 

Dauntless, with commanding word. 

"Björn, come to the rudder. 
Hold it tight as bear's hug; 
Valhall's power sendeth 
No such storm as this. 


Now at work is magic: 
Coward Helge singeth 
Spells above the ocean: 

I will mount to see." 

• • • 

Like as martins fly. 

Sped he up the mast, 
And thence, seated high, 

A glance around he cast. 

A whale before EUida gliding. 

Like a loose island, seeth he. 
And two base ocean demons riding, 

Upon his back, the stormy sea. 
Heyd, in snow-garb shining brightly. 

In semblance of an icy bear; 
Ham, his loud wings flapping widely. 

Like a storm-bird high in air. 

"Now, EUida, let us see 
If in truth thou bearest 
Valor in thine iron-fastened 
Breast of bended oak. 
Hearken to my calling 
If thou be heaven's daughter. 
Up ! and with thy keel of copper 

Sting this magic whale." 


Now heed Ellida giveth 

Unto her lord's behest: 
With a bound she cleaveth 

Deep the monster's breast. 


Forth a stream of blood hath bounded, 

Spouting upwards to the sky. 
Diving down, the brute, deep-wounded, 

Sinketh, bellowing, to die. 
Together now two darts are cast. 

Flung by Frithiofs arm so fierce: 
Through the ice-bear one hath passed. 

One the storm-bird's breast doth pierce. 

"Well stricken, brave EUida: 
Not soon again, I wager. 
Shall Helge's magic vessel 
Rise on the gory wave. 
Heyd and Ham no longer 
Now bewitch the ocean; 
Full bitter is the biting 

Of the purple steel." 

. • • 

At once the storm-wind, leaving 
The ocean calm and clear. 

Still wafteth on its heaving 
The ship to islands near. 

And, all at once, the sun appearing. 

Like a monarch in his hall. 
New life and new delights seems bearing 

To ship and wave, to hill and vale; 
His silent radiance crowneth high 

The lofty clifF, the forest's bound: 
And all rejoicingly descry 

The grassy shores of Efjesund. 


** Pale Ingeborg's entreaties 
Have risen to Valhalla, — 
Her knees my lily bended 
Before the golden shrine. 
The tears in her eyes so lovely. 
The sighs of her swan-like bosom. 
Have touched the hearts of immortals: 
Nov7 let us give them thanks." 
• ■ • 

But £llida*s prov7 

Hath stricken with such force. 
That slow she crawlcth now, 

A-weary of her course. 

Weary too with dangerous sailing 

Now are FrithioPs comrades bold. 
E'en the swords they lean on, failing 

Feeble forms erect to hold. 
On sturdy shoulders Björn doth ferry 

Four from Ellida to the land; 
But mighty Frithiof eight doth carry 

Down to the fire upon the strand. 

^^ Blush not, pale companions, 
Waves are sturdy Vikings, 
And bitter 't is to battle 
With the ocean maids. 
See, the mead-horn cometh. 
On feet of gold it circleth; 
Our limbs benumb'd we '11 warm again 
With skål for Ingeborg." 


Now also ye the tale shall hear 

How, with his vassals all. 
Drank joyfully Yarl Angantyr 

In the fir-wood fashioned hall. 
In mirth and gladness sitting, he 

The blue waves looked upon. 
As down the sun sank in the sea. 

Like to a golden swan. 

In the deep bow of the window wide 

Old Halvar, keeping ward. 
With one eye viewed the spreading tide. 

With one his mead did guard. 
A habit strange the old man had — 

He 'd ever empty the cup. 
And into the hall, with gesture sad, 

For more would hold it up. 

But now he cries, as the empty horn 

Into the hall he throws, 
"A ship upon the sea is borne. 

Full heavily she goes; 
Now seemeth she to tarry. 

Now reacheth she the land; 
Two mighty giants carry 

The pale crew to the land." 

O'er ocean's wide dominions 
The Yarl now looketh he; 


"Those arc Ellida's pinions. 

That, too, must Frithiof be: 
By such a proud appearing 

Must Thorsten's son be known; 
In all the North such bearing 

Belongs to hin) alone." 

Forth from the board, in furious mood. 

Doth Viking Atle rise. 
Black-bearded Berserk, craving blood. 

Rage flashing from his eyes: 
"Now, now," he cries, "my hand shall show 

If Frithiof, as they say, 
A spell o'er steel itself can throw. 

And ne'er for quarter pray." 

With him sprung up twelve comrades there. 

Twelve comrades from the board; 
They wield the club, they cleave the air 

With fiercely brandished sword. 
They rush down to the level strand. 

Where rests the ship at length. 
And Frithiof sitteth on the sand. 

Bespeaking might and strength. 

"With ease my sword should fell thee now," 

Doth boastful Atle cry, 
"But that the choice I still allow 

To combat or to fly. 
Yet if thou 'It sue for peace from me 

(Though cruel name I bear). 


Then, as a friend, I '11 go with thee 
To noble Angantyr." 


My journey's toil hath left me weak," 

Quoth Frithiof, fury-stirred; 
"Yet, ere a craven peace I ^ek, 

I '11 prove thy mighty sword." 
Flashes the steel with lightnings, flung 

From nervous, sunburnt hand; 
Each Rune on Angurvadel's tongue 

In burning flame doth stand. 

The clashing weapons, showering, strike 

A hail of death-strokes round ; 
The shattered shields of both alike 

Fall shivering to the ground. 
Their comrades brave stand firm and fast. 

And none his place forsakes ; 
Keen Angurvadel bites at last; 

The blade of Atle breaks. 

"'Gainst swordless man," bold Frithiof cried, 
"My sword I never use; 
But let us try another fight. 

If other fight thou choose." 
Like floods, in autumn meeting, 

Each rusheth on his foe; 
Breastplate on breastplate beating. 

As they wrestle for the throw. 

They wrestle like an angry pair 
Of bears upon the snow; 


Like eagles, struggling high in air. 

Above the ocean's flow. 
Have tottered from their ancient place 

Full many a massive rock, 
And many an oak, of sturdy race. 

At far a slighter shock. 

From heavy brows the sweat drops down. 

Their breath comes cold and hard; 
They scatter far each shrub and stone 

Around them on the sward. 
To see the end in fear delays 

Each troop upon the strand; 
Wide was that fight, in ancient days. 

Renown 'd throughout the land. 

But Frithiof felled his foe at last, 

And bore him to the earth. 
And knelt upon his heaving breast. 

And spoke in tones of wrath: — 
"Oh! had I but my broadsword true. 

Black-bearded Berserk, I 
Should drive its point triumphant through 

Your entrails, as you lie." 

"Be that but little cause for care," 

Was Atle's firm reply; 
"Go fetch thy mighty weapon there. 

And no escape I '11 try; 
We both must pass from earth away, 

Valhalla's joys to see; 


And if I wander there to-day, 
To-morrow may fetch thee." 

Now, noble Frithiof, widely praised. 

The strife to finish thought, 
Keen Angurvadel high he raised. 

But Atle trembled not. 
This touched his mighty victor's soul. 

And laid his anger low; 
He checked the stroke, with glad control. 

And raised his fallen foe. 

Then loud the aged Halvar cried. 

His white stafF raising forth, 
"Through this your strife ye have supplied 

But little cause for mirth. 
Long since the silver dishes high 

Send forth their steaming breath. 
And fish and flesh grow cold, whilst I 

Am thirsting unto death." 

Now reconciled, the warriors bold 

Pass through the open door. 
And much did Frithiof there behold 

He ne'er had seen before. 
No rough-hewn planks here cover 

The naked walls so wide; 
But leather, gilded over. 

With flowers and berries bright. 

Not on the centre pavement glowed 
The fire, with merry glare. 


But close by every wall there stood 

A stove of marble fair. 
No smoke within the chamber stay'd; 

The walls no dampness bore; 
Frames filled with glass the windows had, 

And a lock was on the door. 

All filled with light, the branches fair 

Spread out their silver boughs; 
No more the crackling pine-torch glare 

Illumined the carouse. 
Cooked whole, a stag, with larded breast. 

Adorned the table round; 
Its horns leaf-decked, its gilt hoof raised. 

As if about to bound. 

There stood a damsel, lily-fair. 

To each rough comrade nigh; 
As beameth forth a glittering star 

Throughout a stormy sky. 
Their tresses brown luxuriant flowed; 

Bright shone their eyes of blue ; 
Their little lips like roses glowed. 

Grown ripe in summer's dew. 

High sate upon his silver throne 

The Yarl, in splendor bold; 
Bright as the sun his helmet shone. 

His breastplate blazed with gold; 
With stars embroider'd, bright did gleam 

His mantle, rich and fine; 


And every purple-glowing seam 
Did spotless ermine line. 

Forth from the board three paces 

He goes to meet his guest; 
He takes his hand, and places 

Him at his side to rest: — 
** Since here full many a creaming horn 

With Thorsten emptied we, 
His son, whose fame so far is borne, 

Shall not sit far from me." 

The great Angantyr fills the cup 

With wine of Sicily, 
Like flashing flame it sparkles up 

All foaming, like the sea. 
"Right welcome be thou to my hall 

In ancient friendship's name; 
The mighty Thorsten's skål we all 

Shall drink with loud acclaim." 

A hoary bard, from Morven's heights. 

Accords the tuneful lyre. 
And loud, in glowing tones, recites 

A hero-song of fire ; 
But in the old Norräna tongue. 

The speech of ancient days. 
The hero Thorsten's fame was sung. 

And all the song did praise. 

Then much to hear the Yarl did crave. 
Of his kindred in the North; 


And prudent Frithiof clearly gave 

The wisest answers forth. 
And everything he truly tells. 

Gives each his proper fame. 
Like Saga, goddess bright, who dwells 

In the shrine of holy Time. 

And now doth Frithiof rehearse 

His voyage, lately done; 
How magic's power, and Helge's curse. 

By him had been o'erthrown. 
The vassals shout in joyous strain. 

Loud laughs bold Angantyr, 
And Frithiof greater glory gains 

As higher rose the cheer. 

But when of Ingborg, dear and fair, 

The tale doth reach their ears. 
So noble in her grief and care. 

So lovely in her tears; 
Deep sighs escape from laboring breast. 

On fair cheeks blushes stand. 
By every maiden fond is pressed 

Her faithful lover's hand. 

And now, his mission to complete. 

Doth Frithiof bold prepare, 
Angantyr stirred not from his seat 

But gave him hearing fair. 
Then answered: — "I no homage do; 

I and my race are free; 


King Bcle's skål we drink, 't is true, 
But he never governed me. 

"His heirs, indeed, I never knew; 

If tribute they demand. 
Then let them sue as men should do. 

Insisting sword in hand. 
Then on the shore my sword shall shine; 

But Thorsten held I dear." 
And with his hand he gives a sign 

To his daughter sitting near. 

Up sprung the lovely Flower-charm 

Forth from her gilded chair; 
How slender was her little form. 

How round her bust so fair. 
In dimple deep was throned the sprite 

Astrild, in roguish glee. 
As sits the butterfly so bright 

In the rose delightingly. 

To the women's chambers hasting. 

She soon, with purse of green. 
Returned, on which were rivers 

Through woods, embroidered seen. 
And there displayed, the calm moonlight 

Seemed ocean to behold; 
The clasp was made of rubies bright; 

The tassels were of gold. 

The maiden laid the purse so fair 
In her great father's hands. 


Up to the brim he filled it there 
With gold from foreign lands: — 
" This gift of welcome take, O guest, 
To do as thou may'st will: 

But for the winter stay and rest 
With us in friendship still. 

"Though valor never should be scorned, 

Yet now the storm rules wide; 
By now again to life returned, 

I '11 wager Ham and Heyd. 
Ellida may not always leap 

So luckily again; 
And whales are plenty in the deep, 

Though one she may have slain." 

And so in merry mood they stay'd 

Till morning's sun did rise: 
The oft-drained golden goblets made 

Them glad, but not unwise. 
With skål to Angantyr, at last. 

The horn they loudly drain: 
So, safely housed, till winter passed. 

Did Frithiof remain. 



Spring breathes again in ether blue, 

In green the earth is clad anew; 

Then Frithiof thanketh his host : again 

He mounteth up on the heaving main; 

And gaily his sable swan doth make 

On her glassy course a silvery wake. 

For the western winds, with the voice of Spring, 

Like nightingales in his bright sails sing; 

And the blue-veiled daughters of iEgir speed 

His flight as they dance o'er the glittering mead. 

Oh! it is sweet when from distant strand 

The sails swell back to that native land, 

Where the smoke from one's own loved hearth appears. 

And thoughts awaken of childhood's years, — 

Where play-grounds are mirrored in tranquil waves, 

Where forefathers lie in their grassy graves; 

And the faithful maiden, longingly 

Standing on lofty rocks, watcheth the sea. 

Six days he sailed, and the seventh shows 
A dark-brown stripe, which larger grows. 
And 'gainst the edge of heaven doth stand. 
With clifFs, with isles, and at last with land. 
His home, from ocean risen, is seen. 
Its forests wide arrayed in green; 
He hears the foaming surge's shocks 
Break on the marble-breasted rocks; 
He greets the bay and the heights above. 


And sails close under the holy grove, 
Where the past summer, so many a night. 
He had sat with his Ingborg in fond delight. 
^^Appeareth she not, and can she not guess 
How near o'er the dark-blue waves I press? 
Or doth she, from Balder's temple gone. 
Now dwelling at Helge's court alone. 
Sorrow by harp, or by golden woof? " 

Lo! his falcon now from the temple roof 

Arising, as often before he hath done. 

To FrithioPs shoulder hath suddenly flown. 

Eagerly flapping with snowy wing, — 

The bird from his shoulder can nobody bring. 

With gilded claw he scratcheth in haste, — 

He giveth no peace, he giveth no rest; 

To FrithioPs ear he bendeth his beak. 

As if some message he sought to speak. 

Perchance from Ingborg, the bride so dear. 

But the tale he telleth can no man hear. 

The last point now doth Ellida pass. 

Bounding, as deer bound over the grass. 

The well-known waters her keel doth plough. 

Glad standeth Frithiof in the prow. 

He rubbeth his eyes, and with trembling hand 

He shadeth his brow, he scanneth the strand; 

But long though he rub them, and far though he see, 

Framnäs no more discovereth he. 

Naught but the naked chimney there 

Standeth, like warriors' bones laid bare; 

Where his court-yard had been is desert land. 


And ashes whirl round the lonely strand. 
In fury down from his ship he hasteth; 
A glance on his ruined dwelling casteth, — 
His father's dwelling — his childhood's home. 

Now Bran, the wiry-haired, doth come. 

His dog, who often, as true as bold, 

For him the wild bears helped to hold; 

Full high he leapeth with many a spring. 

In joy his master welcoming. 

The milk-white steed, with the golden mane. 

With stag-swift hoofs, and with lengthy rein. 

Which Frithiof so oft had ridden around. 

Speeds through the valley with eager bound. 

And, neighing gladly, archeth his neck. 

And bread from his master's hand doth seek. 

But Frithiof, poorer than the pair. 

Hath naught with the faithful brutes to share. 

Houseless and sad, on his father's ground. 

Now Frithiof standeth, gazing round; 

Until of Hilding he is 'ware. 

His foster-sire, with silvery hair: — 

"At what I see I scarce can wonder. 
When the eagle flieth, the nest they plunder. 
Is this the way that a king should guard? — 
Well holdeth Helge his royal word; 
For heavenly dread, and human hate. 
And plundering flames, are his Eriksgate: 
Yet this brings rather rage than care: 
But tell me where is Ingborg, where?" 

"The tale I '11 tell thee," the old man said; 

"Though I fear thou 'It find it but little glad. 


Scarce wast thou gone when Ring drew near: 
Five shields to one his warriors were. 
In Disar's vale by the brook they fought: 
With blood-red foam were its waters fraught. 
King Halfdan, unchanging, laughed and played. 
Yet wielded, like a man, his blade ; 
Before the youth I held my shield. 
And was proud of his well-fought maiden field. 
Yet soon gave way our weakened host ; 
King Helge fled, and then all was lost. 
The Asen-born, as they swiftly fled. 
Passing, in flames thy dwelling set. 
No choice to the vanquished Ring would leave : 
Their sister they to him should give ; 
Naught should appease him save her hand: 
Refused, he 'd seize both their crown and land. 
Backwards and forwards the messengers hied; 
And now King Ring hath led home his bride." 

" O woman, woman," Frithiof said, 
^^The earliest thought that Loke had 

Was to frame a lie, and he sent it forth 

In woman's form to man on earth. 

With false blue eye, and with faithless tear. 

Deceiving ever, yet ever dear; 

With rosy cheeks, and with bosom fair. 

Thy faith like spring-ice, thy truth like air. 

Thine heart but echoing with deceit. 

And treachery set in thy lips so sweet. 

O Ingborg, darling of my heart. 

How dear thou hast been, and how dear thou art ! 

Far as I back my thoughts can guide. 


I 've known no joy but by thy side; 

In every act and in every thought. 

Thou wast the highest prize I sought. 

As trees from earth together grown, 

If Thor with lightning smite the one, 

The other fades : if one grows green. 

The other shares its leafy sheen: 

So joy and care we Ve shared and known : 

I never felt myself alone. 

Now I am lonely; — thou lofty Var, 

Who, with thy golden tablets, far 

Dost watch each mortal vow t' enrol, 

Cease thy vain labor; burn thy scroll: 

But lies to chronicle they serve. 

And better fate doth gold deserve. 

Of Balder's Nanna truth is told, — 

No truth can heart of mortal hold ; 

Man's breast is filled with falsehood through. 

Since Ingborg's voice could prove untrue; 

That voice, like wind caressing flowers. 

Or strain from Brage's harp that showers, — 

The joyous harp no more I '11 hear, — 

I '11 think no more of my faithless fair. 

Where storm-winds sport I '11 make my pillow ; 

Blood shalt thou quaff, thou ocean-billow. 

Where'er a sword grave-seeds can sow, 

O'er hill or dale, my joy shall grow ; 

And meet I a crown'd king anywhere, 

I 'II laugh to see how his life I '11 spare. 

But should I find, where shields clash loud, 

Some love-sick youth amongst the crowd. 


Who joy in maiden's vows can take, 
I '11 hew him down for mercy's sake; 
And spare him the grief one day to be 
Forsaken, disgraced, and betray'd like me." 

" How fiercely boileth youthful blood ! " 
The aged Hilding said: "'Twere good 
That snows of eld should cool its heat. — 
Much wrongest thou the noble maid: 
My foster-daughter cease to chide. 
But blame what none can turn aside, — 
The rage of the Nornes, whose weapons smite 
The sons of earth from the stormy height. 
True! Ingborg's sorrowing few men heard. 
Like silent Vidar, she spake no word: 
But she grieved and pined, as in southern shade 
The love-lorn turtle-dove mourns its mate. 
With me alone her grief she would share. 
To me her measureless woe declare. 
As with stricken breast the sea-mew diveth 
To deepest ocean, and only striveth 
To hide her wound from the sight of day, 
And deep-laid, bleedeth her life away: 
So in silence deep sank her sorrow down: 
To me only the grief that she bore is known. 

" * For Bele's kingdom,' full oft she said, 
^A sacrifice must I be made; 
And garlands of snowdrops and evergreen 
Shall deck the land's peace-off^ering. 
Oh ! I could die, but 't were fate too mild. 


By naught will Balder be reconciled 

Save a living death of lingering pain, 

With a beating heart, and a throbbing brain. 

But to none of my sorrow, I charge thee, speak; 

My fate may be hard, yet no pity I seek; 

King Bele's daughter her doom will bear — 

Yet greet from his Ingborg my Frithiof dear.' 

" On the morn of the bridal (ah ! sad-fated day. 
From my runestafF, oh! would I could score it away). 
To the temple passed the slow-pacing train 
Of white-cladden maidens, and sword-bearing men. 
By the sorrowing Skald the troop was led; 
The bride sate pale on a coal-black steed. 
Pale as the spirit that sitteth upon 
The thunder-rack dark, when the storm rageth on. 
From the saddle I lifted the fair lily down; 
To the temple threshold I led her on; 
By the altar standing she uttered there 
Her vow to Lofn, and her voice was clear; 
And she prayed to Balder fervently. 
And all wept tears, but no tear wept she. 
Of thy ring which she wore then was Helge 'ware. 
And he tore it with force from her arm so fair; 
And the image of Balder he decked with the gold. 
My fury no longer could I withhold; 
My trusty sword from my side I drew forth. 
And King Helge's life was then little worth. 
But Ingeborg whispered me — 'Let things be; 
Such pang might a brother have spared to me; 
But much must be borne ere life's sorrows be past. 
Between us Allfader will judge at the last.'" 


Quoth Frithiof : "AUfader judgeth, 't is true, 

But a share of judgment I '11 utter too: 

Is not to-night Balder's midsummer feast? 

I '11 find in the temple that crown-wearing priest, — 

That fire-raising king, who his sister could sell, 

And my share of judgment shall please me well." 


Midnight sun on the mountains lay 

Blood-red to the sight; 
The air was filled with vapor gray 

Neither of day nor of night. 

And Balder's pile, of the glowing sun 
A symbol true, blazed forth; 

But soon its splendor sinketh down 
When Hoder rules the earth. 

And round about the priests stood there. 

All busied with the brands, 
Pale-faced seers, with hoary hair, 

And flint-stone knives in horny hands. 

Serving by the altar, crown'd. 

King Helge standeth near. 
At midnight, hark! thro' the grove around 

The clash of arms they hear. 

^^ Björn, the portals guard, and so 
We '11 captive take them all ; 
In or out let no man go. 
Sooner cleave his skull." 

Pale the King grew; all too well 
He knew the voice for doubting: 

In stalked Frithiof, furious, fell. 
Like autumn tempest shouting: 


" Here 's the tribute ; at thy desire 
I 've fetched it o'er the sea; 
Take it! and battle by Balder's fire 
For life and death with me. 

^^ Shields on our backs, arms bare and free, 
Lest tame our strife be reckoned; 
Be the first stroke, as a King, to thee. 
Remember, I have the second. 

"Glance not, craven, at the door; 
In cover I 've trapped the fox: 
Think upon Framnas — ^^think, still more. 
On Ingborg's golden locks." 

So valiant Frithiof spake with scorn. 

And carelessly did fling 
The purse, from off^ his girdle torn. 

At the forehead of the King. 

Blood from out his lips there oozed. 

Gloom took his sight away; 
By his altar, stunned and bruis'd. 

The god-descended lay. 

"Thine own red gold canst thou not bear, 
Basest of Northmen, now ? 
Then, shame for Angurvadel 't were 
To fell such dross as thou. 

" Avaunt, ye priests, with your altar knives, 
Pale moonshine princes curst. 


Or little I '11 reck to take your lives 
To quench my good sword's thirst. 

"O! Balder bright, forgive the harm; 
Thine angry glances spare; 
Yon ring of gold upon thine arm 
Is naught but stolen ware. 

" Never for thee, be it boldly said, 

'Twas forged by the great Valunder: 
'T was torn by a thief from a mourning maid, 
Away with his graceless plunder." 

Boldly dragged he, but arm and ring 

Seemed to be grown the same. 
Till, coming loose, the force doth fling 

The god into the flame. 

Hark! it crackles, the golden blaze 

Reacheth the roof-tree fast, 
Björn, pale as death, at the portal stays, 

Frithiof stands aghast. 

"Let all men out, cast wide the door. 
Thy watch no longer heed; 
The temple flames, pour water, — pour 
The ocean-tide with speed." 

Down from the temple to the strand 

They knit a chain of hands. 
The billows flow on from hand to hand 

And hiss upon the brands. 


Like the god of rain doth Frithiof stand 

High over beams and water, 
And calmly gives each loud command 

Midst flaming death's disorder. 

In vain! the flames gain the upper hand, 
In smoke-wreaths rolled and swelled. 

The gold drops into the glowing sand, 
The plates of silver melt. 

Now all is lost! From the half-burnt hall 

His flight a red cock wingeth, 
And he percheth high on the gable tall, 

And there wing-flapping clingeth. 

The morning wind from the north hath hied, 

Far through the heavens blowing: 
Balder's grove is summer-dried. 

The flame is greedy and growing. 

Fiercely it speedeth from tree to tree, 

A wide possession claiming: 
Ha ! what a fierce wild sight to see 

Great Balder's mighty flaming. 

Down in each cleft root it crackleth still. 

High in each summit gloweth; 
'Gainst Muspel's ruddy sons, what skill 

Of man a barrier knoweth? 

A sea of flame fills Balder's ground, 
Strandless its billows stream; 


The sun mounts up, but fiord and sound 
Mirror forth naught but flame. 

In ashes lies the temple's pride, 
The grove to ashes burneth, 

And wretched Frithiof turns aside, 

Through morning's hours he mourneth. 



On deck, by light 
Of summer night, 
Sat Frithiof grieving; 
Like ocean heaving, 
His bosom sad 
With awe and dread; 
Thick smoke still climbing 
From the temple's flaming. 

"To Valhall' fly 

Through lofty sky. 

Ye smoke- wreaths, seeking 

Balder, bespeaking 

His rage, just meed 

To me decreed; 

Dread tidings giving 

To echoing heaven 

Of the temple bound 

Razed to the ground; 

Of the image famed. 

Which, falling, flamed. 

And, charred away. 

Like fire-wood lay. 

Of the grove telling 
(Religion's dwelling. 

Where never sword 

In strife was heard) 

In ruins buried 

By flames unwearied. 


All that hath been, 
All thou hast seen, 
No jot forgetting, 
Speed thou relating, 
Envoy of cloud. 
To the cloudy god. 

"Mild Helge's glory 
Shall live in story. 
Not with his hand 
Forth from the land 
Me doth he banish; 
I yield, I vanish 
O'er realms more wide 
Of the azure tide. 
Thou must not tarry. 
Far must thou hurry, 
EUida, forth 
To the ends of earth ; 
Fed in thy roaming 
By ocean's foaming. 
My dragon good, 
A drop of blood 
•Can harm thee never; 
Speed thou on ever. 
Where tempests roam 
Thou art my home. 
The Asen-brother 
Consumed the other. 
Far must I wend 
From fatherland; 


Be thou my North, 
My foster-earth; 
Be thou my pride, 
Thou dark-robed bride; 
False was my other 
Bride to her lover. 

'^Free flowing sea! 
No trouble to thee 
Is monarch's grieving, 
Or king's deceiving. 
He only can be 
King over thee 
Who never feareth, 
Though lofty reareth 
Thy foaming breast 
Its billows tost. 
Thine azure furrows 
Are tilled by heroes: 
Through them like plough 
The keel doth go. 
'Neath oak's wide shadow 
Blood dews the meadow. 
Sown is death's seed 
From bright steel shed. 
Who ocean reapeth. 
Thence glory keepeth, — 
Gold Cometh too; 
To me be true. 
Thou stormy billow; 
And I will follow. 


My father's grave 
Stands still and safe; 
Calm waters mirror 
His grass-green pillow. 
Blue shall mine be, 
In the foaming sea; 
Sturdily floating, 
Midst tempests shouting, 
Till I sink to sleep 
In the boundless deep. 
My life art thou, ocean, 
My home, my possession : 
And shalt be my grave, 
Free flowing wave." 

So spake he madly. 
As piloting sadly 
His vessel, he bore 
Forth from the shore; 
And coasted slowly 
The headlands holy. 
Which still stand forth, 
Guarding the North. 
But vengeance waketh: 
With ten ships seeketh 
King Helge wight 
To check his flight. 
Then shouted they all, 
"Now Helge will fall: 
He offereth strife. 
Nor careth for life 
Here 'neath the moon. 


This Valhall's son 
Doth long to rise 
To native skies; 
And, kin to the gods, 
Seeketh Odin's abode." 

Scarce was this said, 
When Helge's fleet, 
By unseen power. 
Sank lower and lower; 
Still sinking on. 
Till settled down 
Midst Rana's dead. 
Swimming, in dread. 
Doth Helge reach 
Alone the beach. 

Björn, loud laughed he, 
And quoth merrily: 
"Thou of Odin's blood. 
My craft was good; 
When none was nigh. 
Thy ships bored I 
Last night with speed, 
A worthy deed ! 
May Rana keep 
Them in the deep. 
As is her wont: 
I but lament 
That from the wave 
Thou shouldst be safe." 


On rocky shore, 
His peril o'er, 
King Helge stood 
In wrathful mood: 
His bow, ere long 
Of steel, he strung. 
And scarcely knew 
How far he drew. 
Till with a twang 
In twain it sprang. 

But Frithiof stayed 
His lance, and said: 
"Thy death-bird here 
Enchained I bear: 
O coward king. 
If I freed its wing. 
Low shouldst thou lie 
For thy villany. 
Yet ease thy fears: 
My lance ne'er cares 
For cowards' blood; 
She 's far too good 
For such base uses; 
And rather chooses 
Her sign to grave 
On tombs of the brave. 
Than on pillars of shame. 
Where is branded thy name. 
Thy fame on sea 
Is lost to thee; 
And e'en on earth 


'T is little worth. 
Rust snapped thy bow, 
Not strength, I trow; 
At nobler game 
Than thee I aim, — 
'T were shame to me 
To slaughter thee." 

Then bent he o'er 
The sturdy oar, 
Once pine-tree tall 
In Gudbrand's vale. 
He grasped its fellow. 
And o'er the billow 
He rowed with speed ; 
Like bending reed. 
Or broadsword's tongue. 
The stout oars sprung. 

Up rose the sun. 

On the cliffs he shone; 

And the breeze, speeding 

From shore, seemed bidding 

Each wave to dance 

In morning's glance. 

O'er the billow's crest 

Ellida pressed 

Merry and glad; 

But Frithiof said : 

" Crest of creation, 
Thou noble North, 


I have no place on 
Thy well-loved earth; 

From thee forever 
My sail must swell; 

Thou nurse of valor, 
Farewell, farewell. 

"Farewell, thou brightest 

Valhalla- throne; 
Thou, gloom that lightest. 

Midsummer sun! 
Thou sky, unclouded. 

Where heroes dwell, 
Where bright stars wander. 

Farewell, farewell. 

"Ye mighty cliffs. 

Famed evermore. 
Rune-written temples 

Of terrible Thor: 
Each azure sea. 

That I 've known so well. 
Each isle and bay. 

Farewell, farewell. 

"Farewell, ye graves 
By the ocean's foam. 
Where the linden-tree waves 

Down its snowy bloom, 
(But Saga judgeth. 
And judgeth well 


What earth concealeth) 
Farewell, farewell! 

" Farewell, each grove, 

And each grassy nook, 
Where I loved to lie 

By the rippling brook. 
Friends of my youth, 

I loved you well; 
But we part forever. 

Farewell, farewell! 

"With fondness spurned. 

With honor stained. 
With dwelling burned. 

And banishment: 
From land I part 

O'er ocean's swell — 
Ah ! joy of heart. 

Farewell, farewell!" 


Now wide swept he round on the wilderness deep ; he sped 

far, like the prey-seeking hawk. 
For his comrades on board he wrote counsel and law ; wilt 

thou hear now his Vikingabalk? 

*'*' Make no tent upon deck, sleep not under a roof, within 
doors a foe may surprise : 
On his shield Viking sleepeth, his sword in his hand, and 
maketh his tent of the skies. 

^^ Short shaft hath the hammer of conquering Thor; a sword 
but an ell long hath Frey; 
'T is enough, for thy sword can be never too short, hast 
thou heart to thy foe to come nigh. 

" When the storms rage with might, hoist the sail to its height, 
then are merry the storm-ridden waves; 
Speed along! speed along! and sink sooner than strike, 
for they who would strike are but slaves! 

" Shelter woman on land ; keep her far from your bark, she 'd 
deceive, ay, though Freya she were : 
For her dimple so deep is a pitfall untrue, and a net is her 
wide-waving hair. 

"Wine is Valfader's drink, and carouse is allowed, if thou 
drainest uninjured the can; 
If thou fallest on land, thou may'st rise, but fall here, and 
thou sinkest to sleep-giving Ran. 


^^ When a merchant sails by, spare his ship ; by the weak let 
a tribute for safety be told; 
Thou art king on thy waves, he a slave to his gain, and thy 
steel is as good as his gold. 

** By the die and the lot all your prizes divide ; how they fall, 
to complain never care; 
Your sea-king himself casteth never a lot, keepeth only his 
fame as his share. 

^^ Comes a Vikinga-ship, and we board it and fight, when the 
strife waxeth hot 'neath each shield. 
If thou yield but a pace, thou art parted from us; 't is our 
law, and so do as thou wilt. 

" Hast thou conquered ? Give grace, he 's no longer a foe, who 
defenceless for mercy doth pray; 
Pale Prayer is Valhalla's child; yield to its voice; he is 
worthless who then sayeth Nay. 

"Scars are gain to a Viking; a man they adorn, if on brow 
or on bosom they stand; 
Let them bleed on unbound until evening be come; if not, 
thou must part from our band." 

So wrote he his law, and his fame day by day to far-lying 
borders was brought; 

His like never sped o'er the blue heaving sea, and his com- 
rades full lustily fought. 

But himself by the tiller sat, gloomy of mien, and gazed 
into ocean, and thought: 


^^ Deep art thou ; in thy depths, perhaps, peace may be found, 
but above I discover it not. 

^^If the White One still rage, let him draw forth his blade; 
I '11 fall gladly, if so 't is designed; 
But he sitteth in heaven, and sendeth down thoughts that 
darken forever my mind." 

Still, when battle drew near, like an eagle refreshed rose 

his spirit in valorous flight. 
And clear grew his brow, and high raised he his voice, and 

stood forth like the Thunderer bright. 

So from conquest to conquest he sped, and from care, in 

the ocean he sought for release. 
And islands and cliflFs passed he southward, and so came 

he into the waters of Greece. 

As his glance on the groves rising up from the sea, and the 

temples, now desolate, fell. 
What he felt Freya knew, and the bard too must know; 

and ye, lovers, ye know it. full well. 

''Here should we have dwelt; here the isle, here the grove, 
here the temple my sire shadowed forth; 
It was hither I prayed my beloved to come ; but the cruel 
one stayed in the North. 

"Doth contentment not dwell in yon valley of bliss, and 
peace round those pillars so strong? 
Like the whispers of love sounds the murmuring brook, like 
a bride-hymn the nightingale's song. 


"Where is Ingeborg now? Hath she e'er thought of me, 
with her aged spouse withered and gray ? 
I ne'er can forget; but to see her once more, my whole life 
I 'd give gladly away. 

"Three years have sped by since my home I beheld, great 
Saga's majestical hall; 
Stand forth still 'gainst the heaven her bright cliffs on high ? 
groweth green still my ancestors' vale? 

"On the mound, where my father is laid, did I plant a lin- 
den-tree, bloometh it now? 
Who hath tended it since? Give it nurture, O Earth, and 
thy dew on it, Sky, sprinkle thou. 

"Yet why lie I longer on billows afar, for slaughter and 
plundering prize? 
I have honor enough, and the red-flaming gold, the worth- 
less, my soul doth despise. 


The flag on my mast streameth back to the North; to the 

North, to my fatherland dear; 
I '11 follow the course of the heavenly winds; back again to 

my Northland I '11 steer." 



Björn, I am weary of wave and of sea, 

Boisterous comrades the billows have proved; 

Far in the North the proud headlands beloved 

Back, with resistless might, beckon to me. 

They are happy from home who have never departed. 

Ne'er banished afar from their ancestors' graves ! 

Too long, alas! all too long broken-hearted, 

I 've wandered around on the wide-heaving waves. 


Good is the ocean, in vain dost thou chide; 
Freedom and gladness thrive best on the seas; 
Little they reck of effeminate ease 
Loving afar on the billows to ride. 
When I grow old, upon land I will house. 
And cling in my turn to it, close as the grass; 
But now in hot battle and joyous carouse. 
On ocean, my swift years untroubled shall pass. 



Yet now by the ice we are driven to land. 
Clasping our keel lie the chilly waves dead; 
Nor care I to wait till long winter be sped. 
Imprisoned by rocks on th« desolate strand. 
Once more in the Northland my Yule-tide I Ml hold, 
And guest to King Ring and my lost bride will be; 


Gaze fondly again on those bright locks of gold, 
And hear once again that voice dearest to me. 


Good is thy purpose. — By Ring shall be seen 
How vengeance of Viking like lightning can gleam: 
At midnight the court of the monarch shall flame : 
We '11 slaughter the Greybeard, we 'U bear off the Queen. 
Or wilt thou treat him in Vikinga-wise, 
Hold'st thou him worthy of Holmgang with thee? 
Then challenge him forth to contend on the ice. 
Whatever thou wiliest, I ready shall be. 


Speak not of slaughter, nor think upon war; 

In peace to the court of the monarch I '11 wend. 

Faultless is he, nor did Ingborg offend, 

But the vengeance of angry gods I have to bear. 

Now leave of my dear one my heart longs to take. 

Since slight hope for me upon earth can remain; 

A farewell eternal! when green buds awake 

At the breathing of spring, thou shalt see me again. 


Ah ! Frithiof, thy folly seems strange to my mind : 
What! sorrow and sigh for a false woman's love! 
In sooth, upon earth there are women enough! 
For the one thou hast lost thou a thousand may'st find. 
If thou wilt, e'en a lading of that kind of ware 
Shall swiftly from Southland so glowing be brought. 
As ruddy as rosebuds, like lambs tame and fair. 
We '11 divide them as brothers, or share them by lot. 



Björn, glad and honest as Frey is thy thought: 
Thou art prudent in counsel, and fearless in war; 
Well hast thou learnt to know Odin and Thor, 
But Freya, the heavenly, knowest thou not. 
Shun to think scorn of the holy Queen's power. 
Beware, lest the rage of the goddess thou wake; 
To gods and to men, soon or late, comes the hour 
When her smouldering spark into fierce flame must break. 


Yet go not alone. They make take thee in thrall. 


Alone go I not, my sword followeth me. 


Remember how Hagbart was hung on a tree. 


He, who lets any take him, deserveth to fall. 


Oh! brother, fall'st thou, I '11 avenge thee full well: 
Over FrithioPs bones the blood-eagle I '11 tear. 


It needeth not, Björn. For my foeman shall ne'er 
Hear a cock crow again when I perish. Farewell. 


King Ring high-throned at banquet sat, mead-quaffing at 

Yule-tide ; 
The fair and gentle-visaged Queen sat silent by his side; 
Like Spring by Autumn seated, they seemed together there, 
In her was seen the Spring-time green, in him the Autumn 


And lo ! into the hall there came an unknown grey- 
beard in. 
From head to foot enveloped in a wild bear's shaggy skin ; 
With weak and weary gait upon his heavy staff he leant. 
Still all the rest surpassing in stature as he went. 

He sat him on the lowly bench that stood beside the 

That is the poor man's place to-day, as 't was in days of 

To mock with sneer and scornful laugh the underlings 

And pointed with the fingerat the rude, uncouth, old man. 

Forth flashed the ready fury from the stranger's eyes; in 

With a single hand he snatcheth up a courtier by the 

And thoughtfully upon his head he turned the frightened 

Then all the others held their peace — as we 'd have done, 

in sooth. 


^^ What means below this uproar — who dares our peace to 

Come up to me, thou greybeard, and answer when I speak. 
What is thy name? — what wilt thou? — and where thy 

So spake the angry monarch ; calm did the old man stand. 

^^Full much thou askest me, O King, yet answer will I 

Trouble thyself not for my name, its master still dbth live; 

The land of sorrow is my home; my birthright misery; 

Last night I lodged with hungry wolves ; thence come to- 
day to thee. 

^^In days gone by full glad I rode on ocean-dragon free» 
And mighty were the wings she had, and merrily sped she ; 
But now she lieth frozen up and lame upon the sand. 
While I myself, grown old and weak, burn salt upon the 

"I came to see thy wisdom, by fame so widely borne; 
Those yonder mocked me scornfully, and I 'm too old for 

scorn ; 
I seized upon a grinning fool, and turned him upside 

Yet all unharmed he rose again, so, King, no longer frown." 

"Not ill-beseeming," quoth the King, "thy bold words are 
to thee. 
And age should all men honor; come, sit thee down by me; 
Let 's see thee frank and freely; let thy thick covering fall: 
Disguise disturbs enjoyment, and I wish joy to all." 


Then straightway from his head the guest let fall the rugged 

And in the old man's place they all a noble youth espied ; 

Down from his lofty forehead, o'er his broad shoulders' 

Fell down, like waves of molten gold, his locks in splen- 
dor bright. 

In azure velvet mantle stood he, gorgeously arrayed. 
With silver belt, a hand in width, and beasts thereon dis- 
Fiercely their prey pursuing around the hero's waist. 
By some laborious master in high-wrought beauty chased. 

Around his mighty arm he wore a golden bracelet wide. 
Like a flash of bridled lightning hung his war-sword at his 

A royal, fearless glance around the hall and guests he bore. 
And stood, like Balder beauteous, brave and proud as 

mighty Thor. 

Swift to the gentle Queen's pale cheeks the crimson color 

sped ; 
So, 'neath the glow of northern lights, wide plains of snow 

blush red; 
And, as twin water-lilies, by sudden storm oppressed, 
Flutter above the billows, so heaved her gentle breast. 

The horn was blown for silence, come was the votive hour. 
To Frey's high feast devoted they carry in the boar: 
Its shoulders decked with flowers, its mouth an apple held. 
And, with knees beneath it bended, the silver dish it filled. 


Then slowly aged Ring raised up his venerable head, 
He touched the forehead of the boar, and vowing, thus he 

^^ Great Frithiof I will vanquish, whom none can stand 

So help me, Frey and Odin, and so help me, mighty Thor." 

With haughty mien the stranger rose up quickly from his 

His countenance all glowing with heroic anger's heat; 
He struck his sword upon the board, the hall reechoing 

And up from every oaken seat each startled comrade sprang. 

'*Now hear thou, too, O King!" he cried, "my vow thus 

uttered loud. 
That Frithiof is akin to me, a worthy friend and good; 
And Frithiof I will shelter against all the world arrayed. 
So help me first my favoring Nome, and then my trusty 


"Thou speakest boldly," smiled the King, "nor only once 

But frank and free each word shall be where I, as King, 

bear sway. 
Fill, consort mine, the horn with wine, and fill it of the best. 
This stranger, let us hope, will bide the winter as our guest." 

Then took the Queen the horn that on the board before 

her stood, 
(Which Ure's forehead once adorned, a treasure rich and 



On feet of shining silver, with many a gold ring bound, 
Rune-written, and with deeds of ancient days bedecked 

And as she offered him the horn, all trembling, with averted 

The goblet shook, some drops ran o'er, and dyed her 

fingers rosy red; 
And as upon the lily leaves the sunset glories seem to 

So glowed the drops of purple wine upon the fair one's 

snowy hand. 

With joy from her the stranger took the horn, and raised 

it high. 
Two men (such men as live to-day) could scarce have 

drunk it dry, 
But the mighty guest, deep-quaffing in honor of the 

Drained the full goblet at a draught, — no drop remained 


Then the bard who sat at the board of royal Ring his harp 

drew forth. 
And a beautiful sorrowful song did sing of true love in 

the North, — 
Of Hagbart and fair Signe: and at the mournful tale. 
The hard heart melted in each breast beclad in shining mail. 

He sang of the halls of Valhalla, the Einherier's praise 

sang he. 
Of valiant forbears' mighty deeds on continent and sea; 


Then every hand its sword-hilt clutched, and bright 

flashed every eye. 
And round and round the oft-filled horn sped ever busily. 

Deep drank they, high carousing, at the palace of the King, 

And reveller good each proved himself at Yule-tide ban- 

Then staggered forth to slumber, unmoved by woe or 

But Ring, the aged monarch, staid with Ingeborg the fair. 



King Ring to a banquet with Ingeborg hies; 
The ice on the bay like a mirror lies. 

"Sledge not over the ice," the stranger cried, 
"'T will break, and too deep is the frozen tide," 

Quoth Ring, — "Not so easily kings are drowned: 
Whoever 's afraid by the shore may go round." 

How frowneth the stranger in angry heat! 
He bindeth his steel shoes in haste to his feet. 

How starteth the stallion forth with might, 
Fierily snorting in fierce delight! 

"Stride out," Ring crieth, "my charger good. 
Let 's see that thou art of Sleipner's blood." 

They speed as storms over ocean speed: 

The Queen's prayers little King Ring doth heed. 

Their steel-shod comrade standeth not still. 
He flieth past them as swift as he will. 

Many a Rune on the ice cutteth he; 
Fair Ingborg's name discovereth she. 

So on their glittering course they go. 
But Ran, the traitress, lurketh below. 


A hole in her silver roof she hath reft, 
Down sinketh the sleigh in the yawning cleft. 

How pale groweth Ingeborg's cheek with fear! 
The guest, like a whirlwind, cometh near: 

His skate he hath fixed on the icy field; 

The steed by the niane he hath seized and held; 

With a single tug he setteth amain 
Both steed and sleigh on the ice again. 

"Praise to that stroke," quoth Ring, "is due; 
Not Frithiof, the mighty, could better do." 

Now turn they back to the court again. 
Till spring the stranger doth there remain. 


Spring-time cometh: wild birds twitter, woods grow 

leafy, sunshine beams, 
Dancing, singing, down to ocean speed the liberated 

streams ; 
Out from its bud the glowing rose peeps forth like blush 

on Freya's cheek; 
And joy of life, and mirth, and hope, within the breast of 

man awake. 

The aged monarch wills the chase, and with him hies the 
gentle Queen; 

And swarming round in proud array is all the court assem- 
bled seen: 

Bows are twanging, quivers rattle, eager horse-hoofs paw 
the clay; 

And, with hooded eyes, the falcons scream impatient for 
their prey. 

Lo ! the chase's empress cometh ! Hapless Frithiof, glance 

Like a star on spring cloud sitteth she upon her courser 

Half like Freya, half like Rota, lovelier than the heavenly 

From her slender hat of purple azure plumes float high in 


Gaze not on her eyes so beauteous, on her golden locks 
so bright, 


Gaze not on her form so slender, on her bosom full and 

white 5 
Shun to watch the rose and lily on her soft cheek varying, 
Hark not to the voice beloved, breathing like the sighs of 

Now the hunter's troop is ready. Hallo ! over hill and dale 
Horns reecho; eager falcons climb aloft to Odin's hall: 
All the forest beasts affrighted seek their distant lairs in 

But with lance outstretched before her, their Valkyria fol- 
lows near. 

Ring the aged cannot follow as the chase speeds swiftly on. 
Sorrowful and silent by him rideth Frithiof alone. 
Gloomy, mournful recollections all his soul with anguish 

And, wherever he can turn him, hears he echoes of despair. 

"Wherefore fled I from the ocean, to mine own destruc- 
tion blind? 

Sorrow thrives not on the billow, far 't is blown by heav- 
en's wind. 

If Viking broodeth, danger comes, and bids him to the 
sprightly dance. 

And his gloomy bodings vanish, blinded by his weapon's 

"Far otherwise 't is here: for grief unspeakable has thrown 
Her dark wings round my forehead; like a dreamer pass 
I on: 


Never can I Balder's grove, or Ingborg's loving oath for- 

Sworn to me. — She never broke it; gods, in fury, can- 
celled it. 

" They, the race of man detesting, jealous view a fondness 

blest ; 
My rose-bud sweet they snatched away, and planted it in 

Winter's breast: 
By its bloom can Winter profit? Little knoweth he its 

While his frosty breathing covers bud, and leaf, and stem 

with ice." 

While thus he sorrowed, they their way into a lonely dell 

had made, — 
Dark and hill-surrounded, overspread with birch and alder 

Ring, dismounting, quoth, — ^^ How cool and pleasant doth 

the grove appear: 
Weary am I ; let us rest, and for an hour I '11 slumber 


" Here thou may'st not sleep, O King, for such a slumber 
bringeth pain. 
Up ! The ground is hard and cold, full soon I '11 lead thee 
home again." 
" Like other gods," the old man said, " sleep cometh when 
we hope it least. 
And surely to his host my guest will scarce begrudge a 
little rest ? " 


Then Frithiof took his mantle oiF, and spread it out be- 
neath the trees, 

And trustfully the old King laid his head upon the young 
man's knees, 

Slept soundly, as upon his shield a warrior after war's 

And softly as an infant sleeps within its mother's loving 

As he slumbers, hark! there sings a coal-black bird from 

off a bough : 
" Haste thee, Frithiof, slay the Greybeard, end thy sorrows 

at a blow; 
Take the Queen, she 's thine, since once to thee betrothal's 

kiss she gave; 
Here no mortal eye beholds thee; deep and silent is the 


Frithiof listens, — hark! now sings a snow-white bird from 

off a bough : 
"Though no mortal eye behold thee, Odin's eye can see 

thee now: 
Coward! would'st thou murder sleep? Shall helpless age 

by thee be slain? 
Such deed, whate'er to thee it bring, can never peace or 

honor gain." 

So the birds sang, both in turn, but Frithiof took his bat- 

Shuddering he flung it from him, far into the gloomy 
shade ; 


The black bird back to Nastrand flies; but, borne along 

on shining wings, 
With song as sweet as tuneful harp, the white one up to 

sunshine springs. 

Straight the old King, waking, quoth, ^^ Much rest did my 

short sleep afford; 
'T is sweet to slumber in the shade, protected by a brave 

man's sword; 
But where, oh! stranger, is thy blade, the lightning's 

brother, whither sped? 
And who hath separated you, so little wont to separate?" 

" It matters little," Frithiof said, " for swords are plenty in 

the North; 
Sharp- tongued is the blade, O King; no word of peace it 

speaketh forth: 
W ithin the steel doth evil dwell, a spirit dark from NifFelhem ; 
Against him sleep no safety hath; gray hairs are but a 

snare to him." 

" Dissembled was my slumber, youth, to prove thee," aged 

Ring replied; 
" The wise should never trust himself to man or sword of 
man untried. 
Thou art Frithiof; when my hall thou entered'st I knew 

thee well: 
Old Ring hath long been 'ware of what his guest sought to 

" Wherefore, thus disguised and nameless, 'neath my roof- 
tree didst thou glide? 


Wherefore ? Was it from the old man's arms to steal away 

his bride? 
Honor, Frithiof, never sitteth nameless at the banquet 

Frank and open is its visage, and its shield is bright as day. 

" The dread alike of gods and men, to me a Frithiof far 

was famed; 
Shields he cleft; by him insulted, sacred shrines in ruin 

Soon with fierce array he '11 come, I ever thought, to vex 

my land. 
And he came, — in beggar's raiment, and a staflF was in 

his hand. 

"Yet, wherefore turn away thy gaze? I, too, have felt 
youth's angry strife; 

It is the time of Berserk-rage in each man's ever-strug- 
gling life: 

In clash of arms its course must pass, until appeased its 
fierce mood be: 

Thy fault in pity I forget, since I have proved and par- 
doned thee. 

"Thou seest I am aged grown, and to the grave must soon 

Then take to thee my realm, and take the Queen, for she 

is thine. 
Meanwhile, remain my son, and dwell within my palace 

as before; 
Guard me, thou swordless warrior; our ancient strife is 

O er. 


"Never," gloomy Frithiof answered, "came I as a thief to 

And had I willed to take thy Queen, could any man have 

hindered me? 
I only longed my bride to see but once, alas! but once 

And, woe is me! the half-quenched flame rekindled I to 

fiercer pain. 

"Too long within thy halls I 've staid, and now no further 
linger I; 

Full heavily upon my head the rage of angry gods doth lie; 

For Balder, with the radiant locks, who all mankind be- 
sides doth see 

With love, detesteth me alone, and me alone rejecteth he. 

"*T is true, I caused his shrine to flame, and Varg-i-Veum 

call they me; 
To hear my name the children scream, and gladness from 

the feast doth flee; 
Its oflFspring lost, my Fatherland with indignation forth 

doth cast. 
And I am peaceless in my home, and peaceless in my 

mourning breast. 

"No more, no more, for peace in vain I'll seek upon the 

grassy earth; 
Beneath my footsteps burns the soil, no shade to me the 

trees give forth; 
My Ingeborg is lost to me, alas ! by aged Ring she's owned; 
Life's sun for me is set, and wide is sorrow's darkness 

spread around. 


"And, therefore, to my waves again. Away, away, my 

dragon good. 
Thy sable breast plunge merrily once more into the briny 

Spread to the clouds thy pinions bright, the hissing ocean 

proudly tear. 
And fly as far as stars can lead, as swift as conquered waves 

can bear. 

"Let me hear the storm tremendous, let me hear fierce 
thunder's voice; 

When tumultuous din surrounds me, calmly can my breast 

In clang of shields and hail of arrows be my furious sea- 
fights passed. 

Till glad I fall, and rise, forgiven, to the gods appeased at 



With golden mane gleaming, 
Skinfaxe more nobly 
Draweth the sun from the waves than before; 
Morning's bright beaming 
lUumineth doubly 
The hall of the monarch; then opens the door. 

Gloomy and grieving 
Frithiof seeketh 
The King; pale he sitteth; fair Ingeborg's breast 
Like ocean is heaving; 
The stranger he speaketh 
Words of departure, in trembling expressed : 

"The blue billows chafe 
My swift-winged steed, 
My sea-courser longeth to bound from the strand; 
He doth pine for the wave. 
So forth I must speed. 
Forth from dear friends, and away from the land. 

"This ring take, thine own again, 
Ingborg; there liveth 
Holy remembrance within it for thee; 
Give it to none again; 
Frithiof forgiveth. 
But now never more on earth seest thou me. 


"Smoke ne'er shall I see 
Ever rising again 
Forth from the North. Man is only a slave 
To what Nomas decree; 
The wave-tossing main 
Henceforth is my fatherland, shall be my grave, 

"Thy bride to the strand, 
O Ring, shun to take, 
Above all, when the starlight illumines the sky; 
For, perchance, on the sand. 
By ocean cast back. 
The corse of the wandering Viking may lie." 

Then quoth the King: 
" ' Tis bitter to hear 
A man thus lament, like a sorrowing maid; 
Full long doth Fate sing 
Her dirge in my ear; 
What matters it? All that is mortal must fade. 

"Noma's decreeing, 
However it fall. 
Strive we, or grieve we, we cannot withstand. 
To thee leave I my Queen, 
And my power, and all, 
So thou guard for my young heir his ancestors' land. 

"To many friends spake I 
Full oft in the hall. 
And golden peace ever loved truly and well ; 


Yet often, too, brake I 
Shields in the vale. 
Shields on the wave, and I never grew pale. 

" Now will I carve amain 
Geirsodd, and, bleeding. 
No straw-death, ill-seeming a King, I 'II receive; 
Nor is the parting pain 

Worth monarch's heeding; 
It scarce can be harder to die than to live." 

So carveth he sprightly 
Letters for Odin, 
Into bosom and arm the deep death-runes are pressed; 
Shining forth brightly. 

Thick blood-drops flowed on, 
Trickling through silver hairs over his breast. 

"Reach forth the horn; 
Loud skål shall arise 
Skål to thy glory, thou beautiful North! 
Plentiful corn. 

And counsellors wise. 
And labor in peace for thee sought I on earth. 

"Vainly and wildly 

In conquest I sought her. 
Sought I for peace, who still further did flee; 
Now stands she mildly. 

The grave's gentle daughter. 
At the feet of the gods she is waiting for me. 


^ Hail, ye deities bright ! 
Ye Valhalla sons! 
Earth fadeth away; to the heavenly feast 
Glad trumpets invite 

Me, and blessedness crowns. 
As fair, as with gold helm, your hastening guest." 

So spake he, pressing 
The hand of his spouse. 
Greeting his sorrowing friend and his son; 
And then, his eyes closing. 
Ring's spirit arose. 
And sped on a sigh up to Allfather's throne. 



In the grave sitteth 
Ring, greatest of monarchs ; 
Beside him his battle-sword. 
Shield on his arm; 
His charger, the noble. 
Neighing beneath him. 
With gilded hoof paweth 
The wall of his grave. 

Richly now rideth 
Ring over Bifrost, 
Arched is the bridge 
Which to meet him descends; 
Wide spring the portals 
Of noble Valhalla, 
Gods grasp, rejoicing. 
The chief by the hand. 

Thor is not present. 
Far ofF he warreth; 
Valfader beckons. 
The beaker is brought; 
The crown of the monarch 
With corn-ears Frey decketh; 
And flowers among them 
Doth Frigga entwine. 

Bragé, the aged, 
Sweepeth the harp-strings. 


Sweeter than ever. 
The tones of his song. 
Vanadis, listening. 
O'er the board leaneth; 
Glowing, her snowy 
Bosom doth heave. 

^^ High sing the clashing 
Of sword upon helmet. 
Murmuring billows. 
Heaving in blood: 
And might, the good gift 
Of the happy immortals. 
Which, keenly as Berserk, 
Biteth the shield. 

"Therefore, by us was 
Ring well-beloved: 
His shield ever guarding 
Regions of peace. 
Whence the loveliest image 
Of might unoffending. 
Before us, like incense. 
Forever arose. 


Words of deep wisdom 
Valfader speaketh. 
Sitting by Saga, 
Soquaback's maid. 
So the words sounded 
Of Ring ever clearly. 


As Mimer's bright billows, — 
Deep, too, as they. 

"Peaceful Forsete, 
Ruleth by Urda's 
Aye-heaving wave. 
So on the Ting-stone 
Sat the wise monarch. 
Appeasing the rage of 
Avengers of blood. 

''Ne'er was he niggardly: 
Round him he scattered 
(From Dragon's bed gathered) 
The daylight of dwarfs. 
Gifts sped forth gladly 
From hand ever open; 
And comfort for grief 
From his lips ever fell. 

"Welcome! thou wise one, 
Heir of Valhalla! 
Long in the Northland 
Liveth thy fame. 
Bragé, with greeting, 
Draineth the mead-horn 
To thee, the Nome's herald 
Of peace from the North!" 


To the Ting ! the Ting! Budkafle goes 

From home to home: 
King Ring is dead. A king to choose 

The Northmen come. 

From idle wall is ta'en the brand 

Of purple steel: 
Each warrior, with practised hand, 

Its edge doth feel. 

The little sons behold with joy 

Its glitter bright: 
Two raise it up, for either boy 

Too heavy weight. 

The daughter scrubs the helmet clean, 

Bright must it glare; 
Then blushes red, for she has seen 

Her image there. 

He taketh, last of all, his shield, — 

A sun in blood. 
Hail to thee, freeborn warrior, mailed. 

Thou yeoman good ! 

From thy free breast alone can grow 

A nation's pride; 
In war, thy country's rampart thou; 

In peace, its guide. 


Assembled round, with warlike cry, 

In proof arrayed. 
Their weapons clash ; the heaven high 

Their tent is made. 

And Frithiof stands upon the judging-stone. 

And with him there 
A little child, the late King's only son, 

With golden hair. 

There passed a murmur through the people far: 

"Too young is he 
To judge our wrongs, and of our hosts in war 
The chief to be." 

Up on his shield set Frithiof bold 

The child, and cried — 
Here, Northmen, stands your King! Behold 

The Northland's pride. 

"See how, with Odin's likeness filled. 
And fair as he. 
He standeth bold, on slippery shield. 
As fish in sea. 

"With sword and steel will I defend 
His realm's renown. 
And round the child's young brow will bend 
The father's crown. 

" Forsete, son of Balder bright. 
Record my vow. 



And lay me, ere its bond I slight, 
In darkness low." 

Shield-throned sat, with fearless eye, 

Ring's royal son. 
As eagles' young, from eyrie high. 

Gaze on the sun. 

But Time's course, to the child's young blood. 

Seemed far too slow; 
With royal bound, in courage proud. 

He sprung below. 

Loud rose the shout through all the Ting — 

"We Northmen yield; 
Rule us, as ruled thy father Ring, 
Son of the Shield ! 

" Be Frithiof regent of thy house 
Till grown art thou : 
Yarl Frithiof, Ingborg as thy spouse. 
We give thee how." 


A King's election," Frithiof cried, 

"Is held to-day. 
But not a bridal: I my bride 
Choose my own way. 

"To Balder's grove now must I speed. 
For earnest speech 
Prepared, my Nornes, full long delayed, 
Are waiting each. 


*^ Tidings to those shield-maids by me 
There must be told, 
Where they, around Time's lofty tree, 
Their dwelling hold. 

"Still Balder, golden-haired, doth frown 
In anger sore; 
He took my bride, and he alone 
Can her restore." 

Then with a kiss saluted he 

The new King's brow, 
And slowly o'er the heath they see 

Him silent go. 



^Fair shines the sun, and from its rays of glory. 
From bough to bough the gentle glitter leaps; 
From heaven darts the glance of Odin hoary. 
In dew-drops bright, as over ocean's deeps; 
Like blood on mighty Haider's altar gory. 
In purple all the mountain-tops it steeps. 
But soon the earth shall disappear in night. 
Soon, 'neath the wave, sink down the shield of light. 

^^Yet first must I behold each spot so dear. 

Through which, a joyous child, so oft I sped; 
Round the same spring the self-same flowers appear, 

In the same wood the self-same birds are bred. 
Still dash the waves upon the cliffs severe. 
Oh! happy, had I never o'er them fled. 
The same false tale of glory ever telling 
That lured me, restless, from my happy dwelling. 

"I know thee well, O stream, thy ripples bounded 
Full often as my swimming form they bore; 
Valley, I know thee, where, with shade surrounded, 

A lasting love, unknown to earth, we swore; 
Ye birch-trees bright, whose bark so oft I wounded 
With deep-graved runes, ye stand forth as before. 
Bearing on silvery stems the forest crown: 
All is unchanged, except myself alone. 

^^Is all unchanged? oh! where is Framnäs' hall? 
Where Balder's temple on the sacred strand? 


All the dear beauty of my native vale. 

Marred by the sword, disfigured by the brand, 
Of rage of men and wrath of gods, sad tale 
To wanderers tells the devastated land. 
Ah! pious wanderer, hither shun to rove. 
Where beasts have made their dens in Balder's grove. 

^^Ay, a betrayer stalks through life untiring. 

The gloomy Nidhogg from the gloomy waste. 
He shuns the Asa-light, the proud aspiring. 

Written on flashing sword and dauntless crest. 
He maketh us to yield to his desiring. 
Dark fiend, he revels in rage unrepressed. 
And when a temple flames, delightingly 
Clappeth his coal-black hands in furious glee. 

^^Hath no atonement place in Valhall's hall? 

Can naught, bright Balder, soothe thine angry mood ? 
Men can be pacified whose comrades fall: 
The lofty gods we reconcile with blood; 
And thou art called the mildest of them all. 
Speak, and I offer gladly all my good. 
Thy temple's burning Frithiof never willed. 
Take this disgrace from his once stainless shield. 


Remove the weighty burden of my woes. 

Drive from my soul the ghosts of gloomy thought; 

Let life-long grief and sorrow interpose. 

To wipe away the guilt a moment wrought. 

I should not quail, though Thor were of my foes, 
And ghastly Hela fearless should be sought; 


But thee, great spirit, shining bright and clear, — 
Thee, and the vengeance sent by thee, I fear. 

^^Here rests my father: if a hero sleeps; 

Thither whence none returneth he is gone; 
Mead-quaffing in the starry tent, he keeps 
Glad revel, joyous in his armor's tone ; 
Guest of the gods ! glance downwards through the deep. 
Thine offspring calls thee, Thorsten, Viking's son ; 
With spells of deep enchantment come not 1 ; 
How shall I Balder please? is all my cry. 

"Giveth the grave no answer? For a sword, 
Angantyr, long-departed, spake not he? 
Tirfing was good, yet little worth such word, 

I ask for more, no sword contenteth me; 
Battle can weapons plentiful afford. 

Bring thou, O father, peace from heaven with thee; 
Be thou the pleader of my sorrowing prayer; 
No noble heart can Balder's anger bear. 

"No sound, my father? hark! the ocean sings. 
In its sweet voice, oh! speak a word to me, — 
The storm-wind flies, hang thee upon its wings. 

And whisper to me as its swift gusts flee; 
The western sky hangs full of golden rings. 
Let one of thy dear counsel herald be. 
What! For thy son's despair no sign, no breath? 
How poor, my father, is the sleep of death ! " 

The day sank down, with evening breezes singing 
To man their lullaby so soft and mild; 


The sunset, rosy-cheeked, its glories flinging 

In purple radiance, girt the heavenly shield; 
Round azure heights and verdant valleys clinging, 
Valhalla's semblance all the circle filled : 
When sudden o'er the western billows came 
A lovely vision, weft of gold and flame. 

O'er Balder's bounds the gentle Hägring hovers, 

(For so we call it, though in Valhall bright 
More sweetly named), and floating downwards, covers 

Green hill and dale in coronet of light. 
Spreading around, as far as eye discovers, 
Unfancied splendor, wondrous to the sight; 
And as at length it down to earth descends, 
A temple, on the temple's site, it stands. 

Vision of Breidablick ! Towards heaven rearing 

Their height, the walls with silver seem to vie; 
The mighty pillars of dark steel appearing; 

A single jewel forms the altar high; 
Forth hangs the dome, as if by spirits bearing. 
Starry and beauteous, like the winter sky, 
And there, in azure garb and golden-crowned. 
The gods of Valhall' seem to sit enthroned. 

Within the portal stands each noble Nome, 
Together bearing Fate's Rune-written shield; 

Three roses gathered in a single urn. 

Solemn, but wondrous beautiful and mild. 

Urd towards the ruined shrine doth silent turn. 
Skuld to the vision of the new revealed; 


And scarce is wond'ring Frithiof conscious grown. 
From glad amaze, ere all again is flown. 

"Oh! I have comprehended, maidens fair! 

My father, thou hast shown a sign of good : 
The ruined temple I again shall rear. 

Superb upon the rock where once it stood. 
Oh! happy thus, no longer to despair. 
Of peaceful deeds atoning insult rude. 
Again in hope the outcast wretch may live, 
Since Balder bright doth pardon and forgive. 

"I hail you, stars, as gently ye arise! 

Your silent course again with joy I see. 
Hail, northern lights, around the arching skies ! 

A temple's flames full oft ye've seemed to me; 
Grow green, dear grave, again; again arise 

Forth from the waves, thou wondrous melody! 
Here, slumbering on my shield, I '11 dream in peace, 
Of man forgiven, and immortal's grace." 



Completed now was Balder's temple. Round about 
Stood not, as once, a willow-pale ; of iron wrought, 
With golden knob on every rail, was set the fence 
Of Balder's grove, and like a steel-clad armament. 
With halberts bright and golden helmets, stood it forth. 
And sentinelled the sanctuary now renewed. 
Of mighty stones enormous was its circuit built. 
With wondrous art together joined, a giant work. 
For endless ages raised, like Upsal's lofty shrine, — 
Where in an earthly form the North Valhalla sees. 
Proud stood it on the lofty clifF, and mirrored forth 
Its towering summit in the ocean's shining wave; 
And far around it, like a splendid belt of bloom. 
Spread Balder's valley fair, with all its rustling groves. 
With all its songs of joyous birds, a home of peace : 
High stood its copper-bolted portals, and within 
Two pillars tall upon their mighty shoulder-blades 
Upheld the lofty dome, which hung forth beautiful 
Above the temple, like a giant shield of gold. 
Farther within great Balder's altar stood, out-hewn 
From one huge block of northern marble, and around 
A sculptured serpent cast its coils, deep-graved with Runes 
In wisest words from Vala and from Havamal. 
But in the wall above a space was found adorned 
With stars of gold upon a ground of blue; and there 
The god of Goodness' silver image was, as fair 
As silver moonshine throned upon the azure sky. 
So seemed the temple. — Now in pairs there entered in 


Twelve temple-maidens fair, in silver raiment clad. 
With roses blooming on their cheeks, and roses, too. 
Within their guileless hearts : before the image dread 
They danced around the altar newly consecrate. 
As spring-time's breezes dance above the rivulets. 
As forest elves dance lightly o'er the tall-grown grass. 
While still the morning dew lies glittering around. 
And midst their dancing sang they, too, an holy song. 
Of Balder, the all-pious ; how beloved was he 
Of all creation : how by Hoder's dart he fell ; 
How earth, and sea, and sky lamented; — such a song 
It seemed as ne'er from out a mortal bosom sprung. 
But like a tone from Breidablick, the Bright One's hall; 
Like dream of loved one which a lonely maiden dreams, 
When in the peace of silent night deep pipes the quail, 
And moonlight beameth o'er the birch-woods of the 

North. — 
Delighted Frithiof, leaning on his sword, beheld 
The dance; and many a scene of childhood's gladness 

Before his sense, a merry race and innocent. 
With eyes of heavenly blue, and lovely heads, adorned 
With curling locks of floating gold, they nodded forth 
A loving greeting to the comrade of their youth. 
Then like a bloody shadow sank his Viking's life. 
With all its battles fierce, its past adventures wild, 
Down into darkness, and unto himself he seemed 
To stand, a flower-decked Bauta-stone, upon its grave. 
And ever as the song swelled high, his spirit rose 
From lowly vales of earth on high to Valaskjalf; 
And earthly rage and earthly hate were melted down. 
As Winter's icy mail from breast of Earth dissolves, 


When shines the sun of Spring; a flood of gentle peace, 
Of glad delight, his noble bosom overflowed. 
It seemed as if the heart of Nature he could feel 
To throb with his; as if with gladness he could clasp 
The whole Heimskringla in his loving arms, and make 
In sight of heaven a holy truce with earth. 
Then entered Balder's sacrificing priest the shrine, 
Not young and fair as Balder, but a towering form. 
With heavenly mildness in his noble countenance. 
And downward to his belt his beard of silver flowed. 
Then new-felt reverence filled Frithiofs haughty soul; 
And lowly bent the eagle-wings upon his helm 
Before the sage, who thus in words of friendship spake: 

"Son Frithiof, welcome hither: I have watched for thee: 
For youthful vigor wanders glad round earth and sea. 
Like Berserk pale, who biteth furiously the shield. 
But wearily and thoughtful wanders home at last. 
Full oft enough to Jotunheim sped mighty Thor; 
Yet spite of magic belt, and spite of gloves of steel, 
Utgarda-Loke sitteth ever on his throne; 
To no might Evil, mighty in itself, will yield. 
And profitless is piety unmatched with power, — 
'Tis like the sunbeam playing over -^gir's breast, — 
A changing glow that sinks and swells with every wave 
Without a settled depth, unstable, insecure. 
But power wanting piety devours itself. 
Like buried battle-blade; it is life's wild carouse. 
Where o'er the beaker's brim oblivious Haeger soars. 
And when the drinker wakes, he blushes for his deed. 
All vigor is of earth, from corpse of Ymer sprung; 
Forth from its veins the stormy waste of water flows. 


And all its sinews are of brazen metal forged. 
But void, and desolate, and fruitless, it must lie. 
Till Piety, like heavenly sunlight, shines thereon. 
Then grass grows green, and spreads a carpet flower-weft ; 
Then lift the trees their crowns, then gleams the golden 

And man and beast draw life from mother Nature's breast; 
So is it, too, with Asker's oflFspring. Odin hath 
Two weights within the balance of each mortal life. 
Each counterpoising each, when fairly stands the scale. 
And they are named, the Love of Heaven, the Might of 

Full strong is Thor, O youth, when close he clasps around 
His mighty loins the magic belt, and strikes amain; 
And wise is Odin, when on Urda's silver wave 
He gazeth down, and round about his ravens fly. 
And bring him tidings up from earth to lofty heaven; 
Yet pale grew both, and half was quenched the gleam that 

Their royal crowns, when Balder, pious Balder, fell ; 
The clasping link was he in Valhall's wreath of gods. 
Then yellow grew the splendor of the tree of Time; 
And Nidhogg gnawed upon its root; then loose were set 
The powers of aged Night ; the Midgard serpent raised 
To heaven its coils envenomed, and Fenris howled; 
From Muspelheim the sword of Surtur lightened forth. 
Since then, where'er the eye can turn, the battle fierce 
Throughout creation rageth on; in Valhall crows 
The cock gold-crested, and the red one crows to war. 
On earth and deep beneath the earth. Yet erst was peace. 
Not only in the hall of gods, but here on earth: 
In breast of men, as well as breast of lofty gods. 


For whatsoever happens here hath happened, too, 

More wondrously above ; and so the life of men 

Is but an image slight of Valhall; heaven's light 

Reflected down on Saga's rune-engraven shield; 

And every heart of man its Balder hath. Thou 'st known 

a time 
When peace within thy bosom dwelt, and gladsome sped 
Thy life, in heavenly calm, like dream of sweet-voiced 

When winds of summer night rock gently to and fro 
His greenwood nest, and bend the heads of slumbering 

Then Balder still was dwelling in thy stainless soul. 
Thou Asen-born, thou wandering type of Valhall pure ! 
For children still doth Balder live, and Hela yields 
Her booty back as oft as child of man is born. 
But in each heart of man, with Balder, groweth up 
His brother, Hoder, blind, the child of Night ; for 111, 
Like young of bears, is sightless born, and darkness is 
His covering, while Balder clothes himself in light. 
But ever-busy Loke tempts unceasingly. 
Misleads the blind one's murderous hand, and guides the 

Against the heart of Balder, Valhall's best beloved. 
Then Hate awakeneth; for prey Might springeth up; 
Like hungry wolf, o'er hill and dale, the greedy sword 
Doth prowl, and dragons swim upon the bloody waves; 
And shadow-like, of power bereft, doth Piety 
By pallid Hela sit, as dead, amongst the dead; 
And low in ashes Balder's holy temple lies; 
And thus the life of gods above foreshadoweth 
The life of men below, and both together are 


AUfather's silent thoughts, which never know a change. 
What hath been, what shall be, doth Vala's deep song 

A song at once the lullaby, the dirge of Time. 
Therewith in unison, Heimskringla's tale is told. 
And thence may each man hear his own heart's history; 
And Vala asks of thee, — * Canst understand thine own ? ' 

"Atonement seekest thou. — Oh! know'st thou what 

it is? 
Gaze in mine eyes, oh ! Frithiof, gaze, and turn not pale; 
Atonement bears on earth no other name than Death; 
All time is but a measure of eternity ; 
All life, — an emanation from AUfather's throne; 
Atonement, — thither purified to hie thee home. 
The lofty gods themselves are fallen. Ragnarök 
Is their atoning-day appointed ; day of blood 
On Vigrid's hundred leagues of plain ; there must they fall. 
But never unavenged; since Evil then must die 
Eternally, and fallen Good arise on high. 
From flames of earth to loftier being purified. 
'T is true, the rayless wreaths of pale-grown stars 
Shall fall from heaven above, and Earth in ocean sink; 
But, joyously, another new-born Earth shall raise. 
From ocean forth, its fairer, flow'r-adorned head ; 
And wandering stars renewed, with sweet, benignant 

Above the new creation take their silent course. 
Once more shall Balder, then, upon the grassy hills, 
Rule God's regenerate and purified mankind. 
The Rune-writ golden tablets, lost so long ago 
In early dawn of time, shall then again be found 


On Ida's plains, by Valhall's reconciled race. 

Thus, death is but an ordeal for fallen good. 

And its atonement, birth into a better life; 

So, purified, it flieth thither, whence it came. 

Rejoicing guileless, as a child on parent's knees. 

Alas! that all that noblest is must lie beyond 

The grave — the grassy gate of heaven; and all that dwells 

Beneath the stars be base, by evil maculate. — 

Yet some atonement still may here on earth be found, 

A partial, gentle prelude to the perfect one; 

Like hand of minstrel straying o'er his harp, before. 

With skilful fingers, he awake the voice of song; 

By gentle proof he tries the tuned accord, and then 

His bold hand striketh mightily the golden strings. 

From out the grave invoking memories of yore. 

And Valhall's brightness flasheth from his tranced eyes. 

So earth the shadow seems of heaven above ; and like 

The entrance court to Balder's temple in the skies; 

And sacrifice to gods is made; by purple rein 

The steed is led in golden trappings to their shrines. 

Therein a figure, deep of meaning, lies ; for blood 

Must be the morning-dawn of all atonement-days. 

But neither type nor figure can themselves atone ; 

Thy deeds of evil done can none make good for thee. 

Atonement for the dead is in AUfather's breast; 

Atonement for the living in each living heart. 

One sacrifice I know, in heaven above more dear 

Than smoke of slaughtered oxen; 't is to offer up 

Thine own heart's angry rage, thine own revenge. 

Canst thou not blunt the edge of passion, and forgive ? 

Then, Frithiof, naught hast thou to do in Balder's house: 

And vain must be the temple which thou here hast reared. 


With stones thou canst not please the god; with peace 

On earth below, and heaven above, forgiveness dwells. 
Be reconciled to thy foe and to thyself. 
And so shalt thou be reconciled to Balder bright. 
'T is said a Balder southward dwelt, the Virgin's son, 
AUfather sent him forth to make the purport known 
Of writings dark till now upon the shield of Fate. 
His rally ing-cry was Peace, and Love his shining sword. 
And Innocence sat, dove-like, on his silver helm. 
He lived the holy life he taught; forgiving, died ; 
And, far away, ' neath spreading palms, his grave is made. 
They say, his teaching spreadeth on from vale to vale. 
And melteth hardened hearts, and layeth hand in hand. 
Erecting strifeless empires on the peaceful earth. 
I know not well the lore he taught, and yet, methinks, 
At times, in better hours, its thoughts have come to me ; 
At times such thoughts fill all men's hearts as well as mine. 
The day will come, I know, when he shall gently wave 
His snowy, dove-like pinions o'er the northern hills. 
But, ere that day, the North shall pass from us away. 
And oak-trees murmur over our forgotten graves. 
Oh! generations blessed, privileged to quafF 
The beaming cup of new-born light, I bid ye hail. 
Rejoice ! rejoice ! when it shall drive each cloud away. 
That hung its misty veil before the sun of life; 
Yet shun to scorn our race, which, ever constant, sought 
With unaverted gaze its heavenly beams to view: 
AUfather, though but one, hath many messengers. 

" Thou hatest Bele's sons. And wherefore hatest thou ? 
Because with thee, a yeoman's son, they did not will 


To match their sister, who is sprung from Seming's blood, 
The son of Odin, and because their pedigree 
Ascendeth up to Valhall's throne; and they are proud. 
But thou wilt answer — ' Birth is chance, and not desert.' 
No man, believe me, youth, of his deserts is proud ; 
'T is but his better fortune ; and the best of all 
Is, after all, a gift of Heaven. Art thou not proud 
Of all thy valiant deeds, of all thy matchless might? 
And was that might conferred by thee ? Did Thor not 

The sinews of thine arm as firm as branching oak ? 
Is thine high heart no gift of God's, that boundeth glad 
Within that citadel, thine arching breast ? And is 
That lightning not of heaven that flasheth in thine eyes ? 
The lofty Nornes already by thy cradle sang 
Of glorious life to come; therein thy merit is 
No greater than a king's son's for his royal birth. 
Condemn not others' pride, lest thine, too, be condemned. 
For now is Helge fallen." "How!" cried Frithiof loud, 
"King Helge fallen! Where, and when?" "Thou know- 

est well 
That while thy temple thou wast building, he was gone 
To war in Finnish highlands. On a lonely cliff 
An ancient shrine he found, of Jumala the seat. 
For many a year gone by closed up and desolate; 
But still an aged, wondrous image of the god 
Above the gate remained, and nodded to its fall; 
But no man dared to venture near, for it was said 
Amongst the Finns, from sire to son, whoever first 
Within that temple trod should Jumala behold. 
This Helge heard, and blindly scaled, in bitter rage. 
The lonely steps that led to the detested god. 


Desiring to destroy the shrine. He reached the top; 
The key was rusted, fast within the portal locked. 
He laid his hands upon the post; in rage he shook 
The rotten portals; all at once, with frightful crash, 
The idol's image fell, and crushed beneath its weight 
The heaven-born Helge. — Thus he Jumala beheld. 
A messenger this night hath brought the tidings home; 
Alone now sitteth Halfdan on King Bele's throne. 
Give him thine hand ; to heaven thine anger sacrifice. 
This ofPring Balder doth demand, and I, his priest. 
As proof that now thou mockest not the peaceful god. 
If thou refuse, in vain this temple hast thou reared. 
And vainly I have spoken." 

Halfdan entered now 
Across the copper threshold, and, with doubtful glance. 
He stood aloof from Frithiof feared, and held his peace. 
Then Frithiof snatched the breastplate-hater from his side. 
Against the altar set his golden-orbed shield. 
And all unarmed, advancing, stood before his foe. 
^^In such a strife as this," he spake in kindly voice, 
" He noblest is who offers first a friendly hand." 
King Halfdan blushed, and off his glove of steel he drew : 
Those hands so long apart were joined again 
In vig'rous clasp, as firm as rock's deep base. 
The greybeard then the heavy ban revoked that lay 
Upon the Varg-i-Veum, excommunicate. 
And sudden, while the words he spake, came Ingborg 

In bridal garb, — in ermine mantle, — maidens fair 
Behind her following, as heavenly stars the Moon. 
With tears within her beauteous eyes she fell upon 


Her brother Halfdan's breast ; but, deeply moved, he laid 
His sister, well beloved, on Frithiof s faithful heart. 
And Ingborg, over Balder's altar, gave her hand 
To him, her childhood's friend, her heart's delight. 



Aegir. The ocean-god. Daughters of Acgir, the waves. 

Aesir. The twelve highest gods, namely, Odin, Thor, Njörd, Frey, 
Tyr, Heiradall, Bragi, Vidar, Vali, Ullur, Haenur, and Forscte, with 
their progeny. 

Alfader (All-Father). The highest title of Odin. 

Angurvadel (Flood of anguish). The name of FrithioPs sword. 

ASEN. The gods. Asa-sons, or Asen-sons ; a name generally given to 
Scandinavian kings, who were supposed to trace descent from the gods 

AsKER, or Ask. The first man. 

AsGARD. The city of the gods. 

AsTRiLD. The god of Love. 

Balder. The god of Light, typified by the Sun. The following account 
of him is taken from the Prose Edda^ ch. xxii : "The second son of Odin 
is Balder, and it may be truly said of him that he is the best, and that 
all the race of man are loud in his praise. So fair and dazzling is he in 
form and features, that rays of light seem to issue from him. Balder is 
the wisest, the mildest, the most eloquent of all the Aesir; yet, such is 
his nature, that the judgment he has pronounced cannot be altered. 
He dwells in the heavenly mansion called Breidablik, into which noth- 
ing unclean can enter.^^ Balder, or Day, was, at the instigation of Loki, 
god of Mischief, slain by the blind god, Hödur, or Darkness. 

Bale-fire. A beacon-fire. That referred to in the text. Canto xiii, 
was the fire kindled on Midsummer^s Eve, in honor of Balder, the god 
of Light, whose symbol, the Sun, at that period seemed to reach its 
highest power. It may be remarked, in passing, that ignorance of the 

* The Translator is indebted for the extracts from the Prose Edda, in this 
Glossary, to Mr. I. A. Blackwell's translation of that production, contained in 
his new edition of Mallet's Northern Anttquitki^ ^^47 \ 3°^ has also profited 
largely by remarks in other parts of his work, which he takes the present 
opportunity of acknowledging. 


history and meaning of the word Bale, or Bal, has very far diverted 
its original sense in our use of its compound, baleful^ which, properly 
signifying fiery, full of light, or flame, is used in English in the sense 
of maUgnant, The heathen custom of lighting bale-fires or bonfires on 
Midsummer^s Eve is still continued in parts of Northern Germany, 
Scotland, and Ireland, though the practice is generally supposed to be 
intended in honor of the coming festival of St. John the Baptist, which 
falls on Midsummer Day. 

Bauta-stone. a memorial raised over fallen warriors, and formed 
generally of a block of unhewn stone, projecting several feet out of 
the ground. The Bauta-stone differed from the Rune-stone in being 
uninscribed, the memorial Rune-stone bearing, on the contrary, an 
inscription in the form of a serpent, surmounted by the sign of a ham- 
mer, the emblem of Thor, god of War. 

Berserkir. a class of mythical heroes imbued with an implacable 
frenzy for war. Hence a proverbial expression for any warrior of un- 
usually ferocious disposition. 

Bifrost. The rainbow. It may be interesting to remark the coinci- 
dence between the Eddaic account of the rainbow and Sir David 
Brewster's theory of three primitive colors. The following is from the 
Prose Edduy ch. xiii: " *I must now ask,' said Gangler, * which is the 
path leading from earth to heaven?* 'That is a senseless question,' 
replied Har, with a smile of derision : ' hast thou not been told that 
the gods made a bridge from earth to heaven, and called it Bifrost ? 
Thou must surely have seen it ; but, perhaps, thou callest it the rain- 
bow. // is of three hues^ and is constructed with more art than any 
other work.' " 

Björn (Bear). The name of Frithiofs comrade. Hence the play on 

words, page 112 — 

"Björn, come to the tiller, 
Hold it fast as bear^s-hugy 

Blcetand. Blue-toothed. 

Blood-eagle (to tear the). A custom of putting to death an enemy 
under circumstances of peculiar atrocity. The ceremony consisted in 
carving on the back of the prostrate foe the figure of an eagle, and so 
separating the ribs from the back-bone. In the text, Björn promises to 
perform such vengeance on FrithioPs slayer, should his chief fall. 

Brage. The god of Poetry and Song. 


Breidablik. Broad-gleaming, latifulgent. Balder*s palace in the heav- 

BuDKAFLE. The bidding-staff. A wand about a foot in length, in- 
scribed with certain characters of authority; and which, sent from 
house to house with great despatch, formed a summons for the assem- 
bly of the whole nation to deliberate on public matters of moment. 
This custom bears a strong analogy to the sending round of the fiery 
cross in the Scotch Highlands on the like occasions. The practice in 
Scandinavia, as well as in Scotland, is minutely described by Sir Walter 
Scott, in the Notes to the Lady of the Lake, Canto iii, stanza i. 

Daylight of Dwarfs. From the idea that the Earth was supported 
by four dwarfs, North, South, East, and West (see page 51, line 17), 
came the belief in the existence of a subterranean race of dwarfs, who 
were supposed to be lighted by the veins of gold in the bowels of the 

Delling. Twilight, dawn. Son of Delling — Dagr, Day. See Prose 
Edda, ch. X: **Nott (Night) espoused Delling, of the Aesir race, and 
their son was Day, a child light and beauteous like his father. Then 
Allfather took Night, and Day, her son, and gave them two horses 
and two cars, and set them up in the heavens, that they might drive 
successively round the world. Night rides first on her horse, called 
Hrimfaxi (Rimy or frosty-maned), who every morning, as he ends his 
course, bedews the earth with the foam which falls from his bit. The 
horse made use of by Day is named Skinfaxi (shining-maned)^ from 
whose mane light is shed over the earth and the heavens.'* 

Disarsal. The hall of goddesses. 

Dragon's Bed. The dragon Fafher, guardian of the Nibelungen treas- 
ure, was fabled to lie upon it. Hence, gold was said to be gathered 
from the dragon's bed. 

Drapa. a triumphal song in honor of departed heroes, sung, for the 
most part, at the "grave-feast," which all heirs, on succeeding to their 
fathers, were bound to hold. When sung by Brage himself, the god of 
Song (as in Canto xxi), it signifies a hymn of welcome rather than a 

Efjesund. In the Orkneys, of which Angantyr was Yarl. 

EiNHERiER (Chosen heroes). All who, dying a violent death, were ad- 
mitted to the joys of Valhalla. 


£riksgat£. The solemn progress which the Scandinavian kings were 
accustomed to make through their whole realm after their coronation. 

Fafner. The dragon set to watch over the golden treasure, but con- 
quered by Sigurd, the Siegfried of the Nibelungenlied. 

Fafner's-bane (Destroyer of Fafner). A surname given to Sigurd for 
the exploit referred to above. 

FoLKVANG. The palace of Freya in the heavens, the supposed habi- 
tation of virtuous and beautiful women after death. 

FoRSETE, or FoRSETi. The god of Justice. 

Frey. ** One of the most celebrated of the gods. He presides over rain 
and sunshine, and all the fruits of the earth j and should be invoked in 
order to obtain good harvests, and also for peace." Prose Edda^ ch. xxiv. 

Freya. The goddess of Love. " The most propitious of the goddesses j 
her abode in heaven is called Folkvang. To whatever field of battle 
she rides, she asserts her right to one-half of the slain, leaving the rest 
to Odin." Prose Edduy ch. xxiv. 

Frigga. The spouse of Odin, and mother of the Aesir. 

Gandvik. The White Sea. 

Geirsodd (Spear-death). In contradistinction to straw-death, ue, 
death from disease or age. Suicide, practised by aged warriors to insure 
their admission to Valhalla, where none dying a natural death were 

Gerda. The most beautiful of women ; spouse of Frey. 

Glitnir. The palace of Forsete in the heavens. 

HÄGRING. The Fata Morgana. A well-known, though rarely witnessed 
phenomenon, said to be occasionally presented on the Norwegian coast. 

Ham and Heyd. Two storm-demons, or weather-sprites. 

Havamal. (The lay of the sublime.) An Eddaic poem, containing a 
number of precepts said to have been given by Odin to mankind. 
Many of those given by Bele and Thorsten to their sons in the text 
are actually adopted by Tegnér from the Havamal, as may be seen by 
comparing, for instance, page 54, stanzas i, 2, with the following ex- 
tracts from the ancient work: "Praise the fineness of an ended dayj 
a woman when she is buried ; a sword when you have tried it j the ice 
when you have crossed it j and liquor after it is drunk.'* — "Trust not 


the words which a woman utters, for their hearts have been made like 
the wheel that turns." — "Trust not to ice of one day's freezing j 
neither to the sleeping serpent." 

Heimsk RINGLA. The universe. 

Hela, or Hel. Goddess of Death ; ruler of NifFelheim, the abode of all 
who died of disease or old age. 

Hildur. The goddess of War. 

Hödur. The god of Darkness. See Balder, 

Holmgang. a single combat. So called from being very frequently 
decided upon a lonely island (Holm), without witnesses, and, of course, 
ä Voutrance, 

Iduna. The spouse of Bragi, god of Song. She is keeper of the apples 
of immortality, by which the youth of the gods is continually re- 

Ida's Plains. Orig., Ida-vallen. The dwelling of the gods after the 
destruction of the universe. 

Jernhos. The iron-headed. 

JuMALA. A deity worshipped by the Finns. The term has passed into 
a name for the Almighty Being, and (as the Countess von ImhofF re- 
marks) our Lord is named in the Finnish, Jumala Poyke. 

JÖTENHEIM, or JuTENHEiM. The giants' home, or region of the giants. 

LoFN (sometimes Lofna, but less correctly). The presiding deity of 
Matrimony. The term (from which our word lo*ue is derived) signifies 
unchangeable affection. 

LoKi. The god of Evil and Mischief; descended from the race of the 

Midgard Serpent. The great serpent said to encompass the whole 

Midnight Sun. This expression (Canto xiii, stanza i) may sound 
strange to many readers, unless they bear in mind that in parts of 
Sweden and Norway the sun does not sink below the horizon at all at 
the period (Midsummer) referred to in the text, but remains visible 
from high ground through the whole night. 

Mimer. The owner of the well of wit and wisdom, at the root of 
Yggdrassil (the ash-tree, symbolical, according to Finn Magnusen^ 


of universal nature). Mimer, always drinking of his well, was imbued 
with the highest wisdom. 

MoRVEN. The north of Scotland. 

MusPELHEiM. The region of Muspel; the world of flame j thus de- 
scribed in the Prose Edäa, ch. iv: <^In the south is the world Mus- 
pel. It is a world too luminous and glowing to be entered by any not 
its' natives. He who sitteth on its borders to guard it is called Surtur. 
In his hand he beareth a flaming falchion, and at the end of the world 
shall issue forth to combat, shall vanquish all the gods, and consume 
the universe with fire.*" 

Muspel's Sons. Flames. 

Nanna. The spouse of Balder, who died with grief at her husband's 

Nastrand. The strand of the dead. 

NiDHÖGG. (The down-hewer, or down-gnawer.) A dragon, said con- 
tinually to gnaw at the root of the ash, Yggdrassil. 

NiFFELHEiM. The land of shadows. 

Nornes. The Fates, or Destinies, three in number. Their dwelling was 
beneath the ash, Yggdrassil, by the fountain of Mimer. See Völuspå, 
stanza 17: "Thence come the much-knowing maidens, three, from 
that fountain which is beneath the tree. One is called Urd (the Past) ; 
another, Verdandi (the Present)} and the third. Skuld (the Future). 
They engrave the Runic tablets ; they determine the lives of the sons 
of men j they lay down laws j they settle destinies.*' 

NoRRANA tunga. The old Norse language. 

Odin. The most mighty of all the gods. 

Odin's Birds. "Two ravens sit on Odin's shoulders, and whisper in 
his ear the tidings and events they have heard and witnessed. They are 
called Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Memory). He sends them out 
at dawn of day to fly over the whole world, and they return at eve, 
towards meal-time. Hence it is that Odin knows so many things, 
and is called Hrafhagud (the raven's god)." Prose Edäa, ch. xxxviii. 
Hence ravens, generally, are called the birds of Odin. 

Oedur. The spouse of Freya. He "left his wife, to travel into very re- 
mote countries. Since that time Freya continually weeps, and her tears 
are drops of pure gold. She has a great variety of names; for, having 

. AND NOTES 205 

gone over many countries in search of her husband, each people gave 
her a different name." Prose Edda^ ch. xxxv. 

Pillars of Shame. These were the Niding-posts, or memorials on 
which the name of any one guilty of cowardice or other disgraceful 
conduct was inscribed. 

Ragnarök (The twilight of the gods). The destruction of the uni- 
verse^ a desolation minutely foreshadowed in the Frose Edda, This pe- 
riod is referred to in Canto xxiv, where the references sufficiently ex- 
plain themselves. 

Ran, or Rana. The goddess of the sea. 

Rota. One of the Valkyries, which see. 

Runes. The characters of the Scandinavian alphabet, sixteen in num- 
ber. To these letters many marvellous properties were assigned } they 
were used sometimes as charms against misfortunes, sometimes against 
enemies, sometimes to secure victory. They were said to have been 
invented by Odin himself, as well for the common purposes of life as 
for magic 

Runenbalk. a staff, graven with Runes, and supposed to have some 
magic efficacy. 

Saga. The goddess of History. 

Seming. a son of Odin. 

Sigurd. The Siegfried of the Nibelungenliedy conqueror of the dragon 

Skål. a toast in honor of any person or thing. 

Skald. The title of the northern bards. 

Skinfaxi. The horse of Day. See DelUng, 

Skuld. See Norne, 

Sleipner. The steed of Odin, having eight legs, and excelling all 
horses ever possessed by gods or men. 

Solundar-oe. The Hebrides. 

SöquABÄCK. The mansion of Saga in the heavens. 

Surtur. The god of Fire. See Muspelheim, 

Thor. The god of War, wielder of thunder. He is represented always 
afoot, and armed with a short-shafted hammer. 


Thrudvanc. The dwelling of Thor. 

Ting. The general assembly of the Northmen, which all capable of 
bearing arms were bound to attend on occasions requiring deliberation 
or action. The word is still used, Volks-Thing being applied to the 
Swedish assembly. 

TiRFiNG. The sword of a warrior named Angantyr, which was buried 
with its owner. His daughter Hervor, however, desiring to gain the 
weapon, caused her dead sire to remonstrate against the proceeding. 

Utgarda-Loki. See Loki. Thus called from his dwelling, Utgard, said 
to be at the utmost limit of the universe. 

Urda. See Norm. 

Vala. a spaewife or prophetess. 

Valaskialf. Odin's dwelling in heaven. 

Valhall, Valhalla. The paradise of warriors. 

Valkyria, Valkyrie. Choosers of the slain. Prose jE</^a, ch. xxxvi : 
"There are, besides, a great many other goddesses, whose duty it is to 
serve in Valhalla; to bear in the drink, and take care of the drinking- 
horns. They are called Valkyrior. Odin sends them to every field of 
battle, to make choice of those who are to be slain, and to sway the 

Valunder. The god of artificers, represented as lame, and bearing a 
close analogy to the classic Vulcan. 

Vanadis. One of the names of Freya, which see. 

Var. The goddess presiding over oaths. 

Varg-i-Veum. Lit., Wolf in the sanctuary'. 

VEGTAMsquiDA (The wanderer's lay). One of the mythological class 
of Icelandic sagas, or legendary lays. 

Vidar. The god of Silence. 

Valfather (The choosing father). A name of Odin, as chooser of 
the slain who should enter Valhalla. 

Vigrid*s Plain. The great battle-ground, one hundred leagues in 
breadth, on which the race of gods were destined, at Ragnarök, to 
contend with Surtur and his powers. 

Vingolf (also Gimli). The future dwelling of the righteous. 


Viking. Title given to the ancient sea-rovers. 

ViKiNGA-BALK. A code of laws written for the government of a pirate 
crew. Balk (see Runenbalk)^ properly a beam j hence, a staff on which 
letters were graven. The translator must plead metrical license or 
necessity for making the word rhyme with havok^ in the second line 
of Canto XV, as it is pronounced with an ending like that of talc, 

Yarl (whence Earl). One holding kingly power, but paying tribute. 

Ymer. a mighty giant, of whose corpse the earth was said to have 
been formed. 






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